chapter  7
Imperial filial piety as a political problem
Pages 19

We are accustomed to thinking of filial piety as one of the elements of Chinese culture that held China together as a society. It made conforming to the requirements of the patrilineal family and the cult of the ancestors seem natural and right. In its more extended meanings, it provided ideological support for social and political inequalities of many sorts, motivating respect for the authority of village elders, landlords, officials, and the emperor. In the now somewhat dated language of sociology, filial piety was functional, not dysfunctional. It worked.