Volume 4, Issue 1
The Term min 民 as a Political Concept in Western Zhou Thought


饒宗頤國學院院刊, 4 (2017), pp. 111-135.

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  • 摘要

This article analyzes the term min 民 as a political concept in Western Zhou texts. Min, the author argues, did not primarily serve to denote actual populations but referred first and foremost to a political idea, Zhou kingship. In the context of this idea, min constitutes a factor or a position within a structure of responsibility originating with Heaven as a transcendent ordering force that allowed the Zhou elites to conceive of their relation to non-Zhou populations in terms of universal kingship. As such, the concept min belongs to an imaginary order developed in Western Zhou political rhetoric. The present article sets out to analyze the conceptualization and the uses of the term min in contexts envisioning the idea of Zhou Kingship in texts from the Documents (Shu 書 ) and from Western Zhou bronze inscriptions.