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The Art of Symbolic Resistance

Uyghur Identities and Uyghur-Han Relations in Contemporary Xinjiang

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Joanne N. Smith Finley

Against the background of the Ürümchi riots (July 2009), this book provides a longitudinal study of contemporary Uyghur identities and Uyghur-Han relations. Previous studies considered China’s Uyghurs from the perspective of the majority Han (state or people). Conversely, The Art of Symbolic Resistance considers Uyghur identities from a local perspective, based on interviews conducted with group members over nearly twenty years. Smith Finley rejects assertions that the Uyghur ethnic group is a ‘creation of the Chinese state’, suggesting that contemporary Uyghur identities involve a complex interplay between long-standing intra-group socio-cultural commonalities and a more recently evolved sense of common enmity towards the Han. This book advances the discipline in three senses: from a focus on sporadic violent opposition to one on everyday symbolic resistance; from state to ‘local’ representations; and from a conceptualisation of Uyghurs as ‘victim’ to one of ‘creative agent’.

2 Stereotypes

Talk Breeds Conflict

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Joanne Smith Finley

3 Making Culture Matter

Symbolic, Spatial, and Social Boundaries

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Joanne Smith Finley

4 Illuminists

Popular Song and the Waking of the Uyghur Nation

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Joanne Smith Finley

5 Reverts

Sources and Dynamics of Islamic Renewal

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Joanne Smith Finley

6 Endogamists

Gender, Nation and a Selective Taboo

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Joanne Smith Finley

7 Hybrids

Identity Negotiations among the Urban Youth

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Joanne Smith Finley

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Joanne Smith Finley

Series:

Joanne Smith Finley