Browse results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 646 items for :

  • Minority & Group Rights x
  • Social Sciences x
  • Just Published x
  • Primary Language: English x
  • Search level: Chapters/Articles x
Clear All

Abstract

Based on an investigation of grassland ecology and herdsmen’s life in the Alxa League, this paper explores ecological conservation, varied interest pursuits among different groups, the entry of industrial capital, and the changes in economic diversification, in a hope to locate the mechanism of societal management that has given rise to the various pursuits of interest. Particularly, faced with the development policies of the state, how will the local society adapt itself to such a tremendous change? This is a practical problem put right in front of us. The authors argue that promoting autonomous development means respect for the rationality of local culture, while pointing out that facing diverse opinions and varied pursuits of interests, it is conducive for modern pastoral societies to create mechanisms for consultation and dialogue.

In: Ethnic Minorities in Socialist China: Development, Migration, Culture, and Identity

Abstract

“Villagism” is a social and cultural institution that organizes and maintains the social and cultural relations and manages the daily life of a village by taking the interests of the village as the highest principle. As the case studies of several Hani villages outlined in this chapter demonstrate, villages that practice villagism have clear physical and spatial boundaries, and build and strengthen the sanctity of the village space through systematic religious and sacrificial activities of the village, while the villagers always follow the cultural principle of making distinctions between their own village and the world beyond their village boundary in their collective actions. Examining the peripheral rural society of Southwest China using the villagism paradigm will help us to understand in depth the unique distribution pattern of ethnic groups in this region, which features co-habitation of diverse ethnic groups in a large area, with each ethnic group concentrated in small areas within the larger region. The practice of protecting the sanctity of the village space also negates James Scott’s false assertion that the mountain peoples have a natural tendency to “flee the state.” Under the influence of villagism, the villagers face various opportunities and difficulties in modern development, which are all related to their social and cultural characteristics.

In: Ethnic Minorities in Socialist China: Development, Migration, Culture, and Identity

Abstract

Lineage is the most important form of traditional social organization of the Yi people. With the influx of a large number of Yi migrant workers to the Pearl River Delta region, lineage and lineage gatherings have gradually evolved there. The formation of the new lineages based on the foreman system and relations within the Yi social organizations reflects the impact of the further development of the market for temporary workers. Meanwhile, it also reflects the intention of the Yi people to strengthen their social solidarity in order to respond to instable and tense relations within and among their groups and to resist the further marketization of their labor force. Therefore, the social implications of lineage and lineage gatherings of the Yi people in the Pearl River Delta region differ markedly from those of the lineages in the traditional Yi regions, and as such they are new creations.

In: Ethnic Minorities in Socialist China: Development, Migration, Culture, and Identity

Abstract

Qingke (highland barley) is not only the traditional foodstuff but also a unique cultural symbol of the Tibetan people. However, agricultural modernization has brought wheat onto the dining table of the Tibetans through a tortuous process divided into three distinct stages: In the late 1970s, “the Tibetans did not like to eat wheat”; in the 1990s, “wheat was not a bad alternative for one’s diet”; and today “all the Tibetans like to eat wheat.” Why have the Tibetan people taken completely different attitudes toward wheat at different times? What are the elements or mechanisms that affect the Tibetan dietary choice and cultural change? This paper will make the following three arguments: First, as the traditional food culture of the Tibetan people has been shaped by the unique natural environment of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, cultural resistance to wheat in the 1970s was essentially the result of its conflict with the natural environment and the pattern of livelihood under the conditions of that time. Second, demographic pressure, technology advance, and other modernization measures may have changed the restraint imposed by natural environment on the pattern of livelihood and the dietary habits. As a result, further modernization has changed the production and living conditions of the Tibetans in so many respects since the 1990s that wheat has been able to get onto the dining table of the Tibetan people due to its advantageous attributes. Third, human beings are not passive receivers of external changes. The Tibetan people have made choices that conform to their interests at different times in accordance with the conditions so that they can control the process of modernization and cultural change.

In: Ethnic Minorities in Socialist China: Development, Migration, Culture, and Identity

Abstract

Based on declassified archives, this chapter analyzes an ethnic consultative forum held in 1956 in Dali (in Yunnan Province) to negotiate on the ethnonym of the Bai people. The author argues that the decision on the ethnonym of the Bai people was the result of a process of “standardizing names” that was neither dominated by state power, nor manipulated by scholars, but in which the local elites voluntarily embraced the plan of the state. It can be argued that the decision on the ethnonym was a process of “inventing a shared destiny” under the influence of multiple principles, including discourses of “liberation” and “backwardness,” historical evidence, the policy of avoiding discrimination, the ease by which the ethnonym could be accepted and understood by members of the ethnic group, and conformity with communist values. The confirmation of the ethnonym caused the everyday knowledge of members of the ethnic group to be de-familiarized, and to be incorporated into the common destiny of the nation, resulting in a brief “liminal” period. This chapter is by no means intended to deconstruct an “ethnic” identity, but intends to understand the use of “ethnic” knowledge under specific social circumstances and its implications, and to conduct an empirical study by adopting the approach of the sociology of knowledge.

In: Ethnic Minorities in Socialist China: Development, Migration, Culture, and Identity

Abstract

It has become an established discourse in contemporary academia that the Water Splashing Festival and the new year in the calendar of the Dai people, an ethnic group inhabiting China’s Yunnan Province, are connected. But why, then, is this festival not celebrated on the first day of the new year of the Dai calendar? Studies so far have not given satisfactory answers to this question. Based on both literature and fieldwork, this author argues that the Water Splashing Festival is in fact not related to the new year of the Dai calendar, but rather originates from a combination of two traditions: the Buddhist New Year celebration and the ancient Dai custom of splashing water in pursuit of good luck. The author then proceeds to point out that interpreting the Water Splashing Festival as the new year of the Dai calendar is actually an example of the “invention of a tradition.”

In: Ethnic Minorities in Socialist China: Development, Migration, Culture, and Identity

Abstract

In the development of the rubber economy in Xishuangbanna over the past half century, the rubber industry of the ethnic minorities represented by the Akha people has failed to achieve the goal of scientific and intensive development due to its extensive (rather than intensive) style of crop management. Why has it been difficult for the Akha to change from extensive to intensive cultivation? Why has it been so hard to apply and spread advanced rubber cultivation technologies? Based on an empirical study of how rubber is cultivated by the Akha of Zhasongban village, this author has come to the conclusion that the unique rubber farming practice of the Akha has actually resulted from the structure of their cultural logic: The “extensive style of management” of the Akha is in fact the application of slash-and-burn farming, which is their traditional strategy of making a living, and which is built on the logic of “comprehensive rationalism” formed by balancing the natural environment with the social-cultural system. Modern rubber cultivation technology takes profit maximization as the aim of production, causing the alienation of production from human life. Meanwhile, the Akha way of rubber cultivation has led to the rise of such new activities as “patrolling the mountains” and “picnicking,” which are derived from the practice of their traditional customs, and which represent their efforts to restore a humanistic way of rubber production through resisting modern technologies. Although rubber production is a way for the Akha to obtain wealth, the ultimate aim of their production is to satisfy their needs in diverse aspects of life.

In: Ethnic Minorities in Socialist China: Development, Migration, Culture, and Identity

Abstract

Based on a case study of 14 years in the student life of Tashi, a Tibetan student in interior China, and a description of her life at junior high school, senior high school, and university (including graduate studies) in Shanghai, Guangdong, and Nanjing, respectively, the authors of this chapter have discovered that each phase of her study was like a new journey, which brought her to meet different people, as well as to experience a different school, a different class, different mass media, and even a different “self,” all of which can in a broad sense be termed “media.” Starting from these findings, this chapter focuses on exploring the impact of different types of media on the formation of her outlook on life and values as well as on her cultural adaptation and ethnic identity at different stages of her life, from the perspective of the sociology of communications. The authors argue that in a cross-cultural communication context and media environment, Tibetan students studying in schools in interior China go through a process of cultural adaptation, starting from a sense of curiosity, before moving on to a sense of strangeness, followed by stages of resistance, understanding, and reflection, in which there is not only conflict and adjustment between tradition and modernity, but also deconstruction and reconstruction of national and ethnic identities. Their journey to seek education in interior China is in fact a rich journey through media, and also a profound journey through cultures and identities.

In: Ethnic Minorities in Socialist China: Development, Migration, Culture, and Identity

Abstract

In traditional agrarian societies, the village is a stable human community. In order to monopolize village resources, members of the village strictly prohibit the settlement of outsiders. In China in the 1980s and the 1990s, the purchasing of a large portion of the grain yield on a requisition basis by the state made land, which is the primary resource for survival, a burden for farmers, and those villages that had abundant land but a shortage of labor had to recruit immigrant farmers to mitigate production pressures. In such a context, the Miao people from the mountainous areas of Yunnan began to immigrate to Yangjiang Municipality in Guangdong to help farm the land. They would settle in the area by obtaining the right of cultivation, and by purchasing land and old houses. This chapter argues that settlement rights in village communities have become tradable commodities under the combined influence of urbanization and the current land policy in China, providing opportunities for migrant groups to settle in places far away from their native places. In Yangjiang, the migrant Miao contract farmers from Yunnan are not passive actors acting in response to survival pressures, instead they have been able to reconstruct their social networks and living spaces in the process of resettlement.

In: Ethnic Minorities in Socialist China: Development, Migration, Culture, and Identity