Strong Individualization in Managing Asian Societal Transformations




Individualization, Societal transformation, India, China, Gandhi, Deng Xiaoping


Is individualization typical for most advanced contemporary societies alone? A correction comes from the comparative analyses of the thoughts and historical deeds of two outstanding Asian leaders. In the XX century, Mahatma Gandhi and Deng Xiaoping substantially influenced public thinking and behaviour as well as the institutional framework in India and China respectively. Their achievement is efficiently channelling the national collective action towards gaining the independence of India and the acceleration of Chinese modernization. Both leaders have some similarities and much more differences in their programmes and practical activities. Gandhi and Deng are eager to foster a full-scale transformation of Indian and Chinese societies and to mobilize the active support of millions for societal transformation. However, Gandhi asks for the support of the Hindu traditional religion while Deng orients his intellectual strategy and practical activities on the principles of civic religion. Gandhi relies on his inventiveness and charisma while Deng searches for support from political organizations and the state.  The conceptual framework of social actors, relations and processes guides the systematic analysis of structures and actions in the transformation of Indian and Chinese societies.




Genov, Nikolai (2023). "Strong Individualization in Managing Asian Societal Transformations" Journal of Social Sciences: Transformations & Transitions (JOSSTT) 2(05):24. DOI:



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Author Biography

Nikolai GENOV, Free University Berlin, Institute of Eastern European Studies, Germany

Nikolai Genov is Professor Emeritus at the Free University in Berlin. He received his PhD from the University of Leipzig. His research fields include sociological theory, societal transformations, global trends and cross-border migration. He has been Research Fellow and Visiting Professor at the Universities in Berkeley, Berlin, Bielefeld, Lund, Moscow, Rome, Seoul and Warsaw. He is the author of more than 360 scientific publications in 28 countries. He has been Director of the Institute for Eastern European Studies of the Free University Berlin, Vice-president of UNESCO’s Management of Social Transformations Program and Vice-president of the International Social Science Council (Paris). Recent monographs: Global Trends in Eastern Europe (2016); Challenges of Individualization (2018); For Sociology (2019) and The Paradigm of Social Interaction (2021). Professor Genov is a member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts (Salzburg).


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