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China's HegemonyFour Hundred Years of East Asian Domination$
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Ji-Young Lee

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780231179744

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231179744.001.0001

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Understanding the Tribute System

Understanding the Tribute System

Chapter:
(p.27) 1 Understanding the Tribute System
Source:
China's Hegemony
Author(s):

Ji-Young Lee

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231179744.003.0002

This chapter offers a comprehensive review of the tribute system, which shows that the existing literature has largely ignored the role played by less powerful East Asian states. It is in this chapter that I suggest a new, more nuanced interpretation of the tribute system through the lens of “practices” rather than the “system.” The chapter then discusses in some details the concept of authority in the specific early modern East Asian context, while drawing on the writings of Chinese and Korean tributary envoys. The chapter also addresses questions of research design and explains the selection of case studies.

Keywords:   tribute system, authority, diplomatic practices, symbolic domination, Chinese hegemony

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