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Tracing ChinaA Forty-Year Ethnographic Journey$
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Helen F. Siu

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9789888083732

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888083732.001.0001

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Subverting Lineage Power

Subverting Lineage Power

Local Bosses and Territorial Control in the 1940s

Chapter:
(p.277) 13 Subverting Lineage Power
Source:
Tracing China
Author(s):

Helen F. Siu

Publisher:
Hong Kong University Press
DOI:10.5790/hongkong/9789888083732.003.0013

The analysis of lineage, community, and politics in this essay illustrates some general concern of historical anthropology: how do historical events take into account inequalities of power, and how are social institutions and cultural perceptions understood in the spatial context of an evolving, differentiating political economy? In state agrarian societies where hierarchies of power and diverse bases of authority exist and are often contested, stability rests on the ways local elites anchor themselves in the community as well as within the larger polity. The evolution of local legitimacy involves the percolation of a state culture, be it imperial or revolutionary. In numerous arenas, the locally powerful and those they dominated were engaged in shaping this process. As in other times, discourses on lineage and community in the 20th century were ways by which several generations of political actors created a new language by means of inherited words.

Keywords:   Rural-urban divide, China, Hong Kong, Anthropology, Social changes, Political changes, Identity formation, History, Culture, modernity

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