On the importance of studying late Qing economic and social history for the analysis of contemporary China or: protecting sinology against social science
In recent times we observe a strong tendency in Chinese studies leading to the conceptual fusion of sinology and social science in broader terms and, perhaps, to abolish "sinology" as an autonomous intellectual endeavour eventually. The latter means that a clear-cut distinction is made between general methodology and methods of social science on the one hand and the different objects of their application on the other hand. The assumption is taken for granted that methodology is completely independent from its special field of application like, for instance, the "area" in "area studies". Hence there is only a certain need to get access to the peculiar empirical data in that field in order to be able to apply those general methods deemed to be the most effective and fruitful ones regarding the class of problems under which that special case is to be subsumed.
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