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Johanna Yakova Twersky

The field of anthropology has the capacity for great contributions to the study of human trafficking, particularly in the areas of individual agency, structural violence, organizational behavior, conceptions of knowledge, and knowledge production. In February 2006, at an Americans for Informed Democracy conference at Georgetown University, eight faces of trafficking were identified: sex trafficking, labor trafficking, war slavery/kidnapping, internet child pornography, sex tourism, organ trafficking, skin trafficking, and ritual abuse torture. Of these categories, however, the field of anthropology currently offers research in barely half.

For anthropologists wishing to study human trafficking, ethics are by far the most pertinent problem. The loudest voice advocating for anthropology’s entrance into the human rights scene is undeniably that of Nancy Scheper-Hughes. Scheper-Hughes argues the meaninglessness of “objectivity” and claims that anthropology’s most useful position is in the heat of battle. Despite the American Anthropological Association’s clearly stated position that, “the anticipated consequences of research should be communicated as fully as possible to the individuals and groups likely to be affected” (AAA’s Official Statement on Ethics and Principles of Professional Responsibility 1986), Scheper-Hughes fervently argues the invaluable nature of undercover research in combating trafficking. In December, 2004 Scheper-Hughes presented her work at the George Washington University, research which circulated around organ trafficking and the investigation of global crime rings. Scheper-Hughes’ underlying message, however –that conventional anthropology and its ethical constraints is not equipped to deal with an issue this dirty, therefore, concessions must be made— could not have been made more clear.

As a research subject, human trafficking problematically lacks an easily accessible and well-defined scope. The range of issues relevant to human trafficking extends far beyond what most people would intuitively identify as a trafficking issue. Child pornography, for example, has historically been an issue of law enforcement, morality, and deviant behavior, with relevant research focused on methods of censorship, and potential rehabilitation for pedophiles.

Child pornography through the human trafficking lens, however, returns to the source. Concern shifts to identifying where exploited children come from and to where they are taken, whether parents are exploiting their own children for financial gain, or, whether parents are blackmailed and coerced, their children kidnapped. Trafficking researchers ask if identifiable patterns exist in the ethnicities of exploited children, and whether tracking child suppliers (traffickers) in additional to child demanders (pedophiles) proves more effective.

Anthropologist Debra Budiani, who has spearheaded the Coalition for Organ-Failure Solutions (www.transplantsmiddleeast.org), argues that despite her move towards applied anthropology, she need not abandon the anthropological standard of ethics in the fight for human rights. Compiling and annotating the few anthropology-based trafficking sources available creates a starting point for anthropologists who, like Budiani, seek to delve more deeply into the subject of human trafficking while still working within ethical guidelines. Since the anthropology and activism dialogue is undeniably important in developing a place for anthropology within the study of human trafficking, the attached bibliography also incorporates anthropologists like Sally Engle Merry and Steven Robins who discuss the thin borders between activism and research.

The United Nations and the International Organization for Migration estimate that in one year, four million people are trafficked globally, generating $19 billion in income directly benefiting organized crime and corruption. The intimate connection that exists between human trafficking, drug trafficking, arms trafficking, and subsequently, the spread of disease and violence world-wide makes human trafficking an international security risk that belongs at the forefront of governmental concern. Only recently, however, has human trafficking entered the realm of public awareness as a gross human rights violation requiring immediate attention. The severity of the situation necessitates that major strides be taken in the field of anthropology and across disciplines towards the understanding and prevention of human trafficking. Though largely anthropological, the attached sources provide a strong foundation for multidisciplinary, theoretical and field-based approaches to further research in human trafficking.

Annotated Bibliography


Adams, Abigail E. 1999.

Gringas, Ghouls, and Guatemala: The 1994 Attacks On North American Women Accused of Body Organ Trafficking. Journal of Latin American Anthropology 4(1):112-133.

Since 1986, Adams has tracked stories that accuse U.S. citizens of baby trafficking in Central America and elsewhere. In spring 1994, Guatemalan papers reported the discovery of child-trafficking and organ harvesting networks run by former U.S. government officials and foreigners. These rumors lead to directed attacks on “gringas”, specifically U.S. ambassador Marilyn McAfee and Harvard lawyer Jennifer Harbury. Adams interprets the central figure of the gringa that provoked the anxieties of so many Guatemalans.

Latin America

Guatemala

Child-trafficking

Organ-harvesting

Cultural anthropology

Brennan, Denise E. 2002.

Selling Sex for Visas: Sex Tourism as Stepping Stone to International Migration for Dominican Women. In Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy. Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Russel Hochschild, eds. Pp.154-168. New York: Metropolitan Books.

As an increasing number of rumors falsely relaying success among working women in the sex tourist town of Sosúa circulate throughout the Dominican Republic, more single mothers migrate there in hopes of procuring a European husband and, subsequently, a European visa. Men, mostly German, travel to Sosúa to take advantage of opportunities for sex with exotic women. Brennan identifies sex work in Sosúa as an economic advancement strategy for the women involved and examines the distinction working women make between marriage por amor and marriage por residencia. Brennan discusses whether these marginalized women are victims sold as exports or, acting as agents of their own destinies by initiating the traffic of German men into Sosúa to further their own goals.

Dominican Republic

Sosúa


Sex work

Migration

Women’s agency

Cultural anthropology

Brennan, Denise E. 2005.

Methodological Challenges in Research on Human Trafficking: Tales from the Field. International Migration 43(1/2):35-54.

Drawing on her field experience studying victims’ lives after trafficking, Brennan discusses methodological challenges and ethical concerns that arose while conducting research with trafficked persons in the United States. Claiming that researchers on trafficking find themselves writing on an issue that has been sensationalized, misrepresented, and politicized, Brennan discusses the possibility of collaboration between academics across disciplines, trafficked persons, and social service providers. She urges anthropologists to provide committed, “on the ground accounts” of life in and after trafficking and advocates for the participation of trafficked persons in shaping the direction of the anti-trafficking movement.
United States

Trafficking survivors

Agency

Anti-trafficking movement



Human rights

Cultural anthropology

Crowley, Megan. 1998.

Troubling Boundaries: Organ Transplantation and Liberal Law. PoLAR 21(1):26-41.

Crowley uses the Cartesian mind/body duality to differentiate between “the self that owns” and “the object that is owned” as a means of contextualizing issues in human transplant. Drawing on her experience as an anthropological observer on the ethics committee of a large research hospital, Crowley provides a useful discussion of organ procurement and transplant including who provides organs, who gets them, and who makes those decisions, in the context of liberal law.
Western world

Theoretical

Organ transplant

Liberal law

Ownership

Medical anthropology

Crowley, Megan.1999.

Culture, Class, and Bodily Meaning: An Ethnographic Study of Organ Transplantation in Mexico. PoLAR 22(2):129-38.

Situated in Guadalajara, Mexico, this twelve month long ethnographic study continues Crowley’s investigation into the ethical issues surrounding organ procurement and transplant. Using participant observation, interviews, analysis of hospital records, and popular media materials, Crowley interprets kidney transplant experiences among medical staff, patients, and patients’ families in three socio-economically distinct hospitals in Mexico. Crowley draws on Scheper-Hughes and Lock’s “body-self, social body and body politic” as frame work for interpreting the visions of the human body that transplant promotes, the notions of value that transplant implies, and how transplant intersects with existing local/global inequalities.
Mexico

Guadalajara

Organ transplant

The body


Value

Medical anthropology

Gates, Hill. 1996.

Buying Brides in China-Again. Anthropology Today 12(4):8-11.

Gates ponders the connections between past and present China in order to contextualize the current outbreak of trafficking in women. She argues that attention to the well-established indigenous petty capitalism, and an understanding of the overall trajectory of change in China, are indispensable in unpacking this growing human rights infringement.
China

Mail order brides

Sex-trafficking

Capitalism

Cultural anthropology

Hasnath, Syed Abu and Bimal Kanti Paul. 2000.

Trafficking in Bangladeshi Women and Girls. Geographic Review 90(2):268-276.

Geographers Hasnath and Paul examine the illegal trafficking of women and girls from Bangladesh to neighboring and Middle Eastern countries where they become a commodity for sale in sex markets. The authors shed light on the extent and routes of the trafficking including tracing where the women and girls come from and to which countries they are being sent. Research is based on a combination of newspapers and magazines from Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, field research, and interviews.


Bangladesh

Global


Women and girls

Sex-markets

Sex-trafficking

Geography

Joralemon, Donald. 1995.

Organ Wars: The Battle for Body Parts. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 9(3):335-356.

Joralemon discusses transplant surgeries’ contribution to conceptions of the body as a collection of replaceable parts, as well as cultural resistance to such conceptions. Claiming that cultural aversion to transplant has caused the medical community to peddle social values as justification for transplant surgery, Joralemon addresses the tension between altruism and individual rights. Joralemon sees this binary as the ideological equivalent of immunosuppressant drugs taken to prevent the cultural rejection of transplantation.

United States

Biomedicine

Organ transplant

Social values

Ethics


Medical anthropology

Koenig, Barbara A. and Linda F. Hogle. 1995.

Organ Transplantation (Re)Examined? Medical Anthropology Quarterly 9(3):393-397.

Koenig examines the acceptance of organ transplantation into the genre of standard therapy in western civilization since the 1970’s. Such acceptance, Koenig suggests, is proof of a larger transformation in individual conceptions of the body and self. Koenig offers a brief critique of Donald Joralemon and Lesley Sharp’s contribution to medical anthropology, commending them for their ethnographic approach on transplant research but urging them to push their research further.


Western society

Theoretical

Organ transplantation

Body commodification

Medical anthropology

Merry, Sally Engle. 2005.

Anthropology and Activism: Researching Human Rights Across Porous Boundaries. PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 28(2):240-257.

Merry addresses the relationship or, “porosity” of the borders between activism and research in cultural anthropology. Her article discusses the consequences of anthropology’s recent entry into the human rights scene, as well as anthropology’s role in modernity.


Comparative

Theoretical

Ethics

Activism



Modernity

Human rights anthropology

Robins, Steven. 1996.

On the Call for a Militant Anthropology: The Complexity of “Doing the Right Thing”. Current Anthropology 37(2):241-346.

By identifying himself as a South African anthropologist trained at the University of Cape Town, Robins establishes himself as someone qualified to refute Nancy Scheper-Hughes’ condemnation of anthropology’s inaction during apartheid. Though sympathetic to Scheper-Hughes’ call for a more aggressive and politically engaged anthropology, Robins attacks Scheper-Hughes for failing to investigate the actions of South African anthropologists during apartheid before condemning them for their inaction. Pointing to anthropological contributions made to South Africa in the field, in publications, and in lecture halls, Robins defends the anthropologist’s choice to take action in ways other than directly challenging the state.
South Africa

Review


Ethics

Human rights

Cultural anthropology

Rosga, AnnJanette. 2005.

The Traffic in Children: The Funding of Translation and the Translation of Funding. PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 28(2):258-281.

In 2002, Child Rights International and Children of the World partnered to conduct a study of the nature and extent of child trafficking in Bosnia-Herzegovina, a study for which Rosga soon became the “international technical consultant”. In this article, Rosga addresses the conditions of knowledge production involved in conducting an intensive study on a taboo topic in a post-communist country. She discusses the process of designing and implementing the study, focusing on conditions of knowledge production, translation, and transmission.


Eastern Europe

Bosnia-Herzegovina

Sex-trafficking

Expert knowledge

Policy

Human rights anthropology


Sharp, Lesley A.2000.

The Commodification of the Body and its Parts. Annual Review of Anthropology 29:287-328.

In this review article, Sharp explores the significance of the body within anthropology and the definition of a body part. She lays the ground work for a larger discussion on theoretical approaches to commodification within anthropology. Sharp discusses historically well-documented forms of body commodification such as oppressive labor practices and advocates for the inclusion of an ethics of body commodification within the field of cultural anthropology.


Theoretical

Embodiment

Body commodification

Science and technology

Medical ethics

Medical anthropology

Scheper-Hughes, Nancy. 1995.

The Primacy of the Ethical: Propositions for a Militant Anthropology. Current Anthropology 36(3):409-440.

Drawing on her experiences studying social conflict in Brazil and South Africa, Scheper-Hughes argues that anthropologists have an ethical responsibility to be not only researchers, but spokespeople and activists for the communities they study. Claiming that political and moral engagement are much nobler goals than objectivity, Scheper-Hughes condemns anthropologists for squeezing villages dry for research purposes and then leaving villagers to fend for themselves. Scheper-Hughes equates cultural relativism and moral relativism, condemning anthropological approaches that allow for human rights violations in the name of cultural sensitivity, and she calls for a “militant anthropology” that not only studies injustice but openly fights it as well.
Brazil

South Africa

Cultural relativism

Moral relativism

Applied anthropology

Cultural anthropology

Scheper-Hughes, Nancy. 1996.

Theft of Life: The Globalization of Organ Stealing Rumours. Anthropology Today 12(3):3-11.

Scheper-Hughes examines the nature and circulation of rumors in the Third World regarding kidnapping, mutilation, dismemberment, blood- and organ stealing. Her primary research is situated in the shantytowns of Brazil, with subsequent examples from the Southern Cone, South Africa, Europe, and Asia. Scheper-Hughes focuses on the metaphorical nature of such “urban legends” as well as their potential for truth.
Brazil

Comparative

Organ stealing rumors

Medical anthropology

Cultural anthropology

Scheper-Hughes, Nancy. 2002.

The Ends of the Body: Commodity Fetishism and the Global Traffic in Organs. SAIS Review 22(1):61-80.

Scheper-Hughes comments on global market capitalism’s reduction of human beings, their parts, and their labor to objects, which can be bought, sold, traded, and stolen. This article draws from Scheper-Hughes’ field work in Brazil and discusses how “commodity fetishism” in the new global economy contributes to the illicit trafficking of organs, particularly those belonging to marginalized peoples.


Brazil

Organ-trafficking

Body commodification

Global economy

Medical anthropology

Human rights anthropology

Scheper-Hughes, Nancy. 2004.

Parts Unknown: Undercover Ethnography of the Organs-Trafficking Underworld. Ethnography 5(1):29-73.

In this journalistic essay, Scheper-Hughes reports on the ethical, ethnographic, and political dilemmas she experienced during her undercover exploration of the illegal activities surrounding the traffic in humans and their body parts. Scheper-Hughes tracked crime rings through North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The majority of the article, however, is spent discussing the ethical issues raised by this “militant” kind of anthropology.

Comparative

Organ-trafficking

Undercover ethnography

Hybrid research

Ethics


Activist anthropology

Zarembka, Joy M. 2000.

America’s Dirty Work: Migrant Maids and Modern-Day Slavery. In Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy. Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Russel Hochschild, eds. Pp.142-153. New York: Metropolitan Books.

Though Zarembka’s background is in international relations, her approach to research is sociological in nature, shaped by her Kenyan mother’s personal experiences as a migrant worker. This article draws on examples of migrant workers whose hopes for a better life lead them to accept deceptive job offers in the United States. Using such case studies as models, Zarembka demonstrates how manipulation and deception on the parts of American solicitors contribute to modern-day slavery, trafficking, and migrant domestic worker abuse. Additionally, Zarembka addresses how the new global economy permits transnational actors in developed countries to traffic people with the same ease as they would transport any other commodity.


United States

Migration

Labor

Slavery


Global economy

Human rights study



Modernization and Ethnic Minorities in China

Chen Shiuan-Ju

China is a nation with more than one hundred minority ethnic groups. Integrating those minority groups under one single national structure has been an important goal of every Chinese dynasty, including modern China. Since 1949, the ruling regime, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), has decided to modernize those groups. Modernization will help to accommodate different cultures by rising living standards in those regions and increasing interactions between the minorities and the Han people. With fewer cultural differences, the CCP expects greater social harmony and a united nation. Therefore, when discussing about the relationship between modernization and minority ethnic groups in China, governmental policies play an important role.

Modernization policies, however, bring potential risks. Economically, the CCP currently incorporates minority groups into a national economic plan by assigning them certain roles. This plan defines their status regarding other parts of China. Despite the original economic activities, some regions become the natural resource bases for coastal cities, while some develop tourism to meet the desires of the Han people and foreigners. Those economic developments bring not only material improvement but also social risks within the minority groups. For example, language education becomes a prominent problem for the minorities. Learning Chinese gives minority people more opportunities of gaining economic welfare, but the ethnic languages might be sacrificed.

Moreover, Han culture may dominate the ethnic cultures by creating internal orientalism, which means minority ethnic groups are exotic and “others” to Han culture. The CCP builds museums and villages for exhibiting those “official” minority cultures, especially in regions where ethnic tourism is developing. With the fear of losing minority cultures, minority groups strengthen their ethnic identities and resist to cultural integration and modernization. The struggle between preserving cultures and modernization is a dilemma for those groups. For example, when the local village asks Tibetan women to perform traditional ceremonies for tourists, they are deprived of the right to pursue modernity. Growing anxiety of losing self-definition of minority people serves as a risk in modern China.

Most current research in cultural anthropology on China’s modernization and ethnic minorities focuses on the negative effects of modernization on ethnic cultures. It is unlikely, however, that all changes are negative. The risks of ethnic cultures of resisting modernization is also worthy of research to provide a more complete picture.

Crossovers, who accept both local culture and Han culture, also deserve further research. Compared to people who live in ethnic societies for all their lives, crossovers have greater dynamics of shifting their identities between the mainstream society and ethnic groups. Therefore, as part of both groups, crossovers can influence the future relationship between their ethnic groups and the Han society.

Internal orientalism and the preservation of minority cultures are the most important issues of China’s modernization. In spite of the stereotype that government has the greatest power to determine the results of the issues, minority groups and individuals now have more power participating in the process of modernization and they are also important actors in deciding the future of ethnic minorities in China.


Annotated Bibliography

Adams, Vincanne. 1996.

Karaoke as Modern Lhasa, Tibet: the Western Encounters with Cultural Politics. Cultural Anthropology 11(4):510-546.

This article discusses Tibet modernization. Karaoke is a fashion in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. Karaoke is a symbol of modernization. Thus, to accept Karaoke means to accept part of modernization. However, embracing Karaoke also invokes worries of Western cultural intervention and loss of traditional culture since Karaoke is a western product. With closer observation, the author thinks the risk of losing traditional cultural does not exist because Tibetans do not forget their traditional songs after learning Han or foreign music.


China

Tibet


Karaoke

Modernization

Cultural anthropology

Adams, Vincanne. 2005.

Saving Tibet? An Inquiry into Modernity, Lies, Truths, and Beliefs. Medical Anthropology 24:71-110.

New technologies such as television and magazines facilitate governmental propaganda of modern Tibet Autonomous Regions. The government’s suppression forces the Tibetans to say what the governmental propaganda wants them to say. Since the official propaganda is inconsistent with Tibetan’s perception of the facts, Tibetans separate the government’s mandate to lie from their beliefs in order to accept it. By doing this, Tibetans are not morally responsible for telling the lies, which are the governmental propaganda.

China

Tibet


Modernity

Belief


Medical anthropology

Bulag, Uradyn E. 2000

Ethnic Resistance with Socialist Characteristics. In Chinese Society: Change, Conflict, and Resistance. Elizabeth J. Perry. Mark, Selden. eds. Pp178-197. London; New York: Routledge.

Though focusing on Inner Mongolia, the author states a general picture of the relationship between the minority and national development. After 1989, Communist regime forces the minorities to accept economic developments according to the needs of the coastal cities. This policy is regarded as inner colonialism, which puts minorities in a lower status compared to Han people. In order to complete with Han people, Mongolians need to learn Chinese as well as Han culture. Economic development and modernization thus results in the loss of their original languages and cultures.

China

Mongolia


Inner orientalism

Economic development

Ethnic resistance

Anthropology

Bulag, Uradyn E. 2003.

Mongolian Ethnicity and Linguistic Anxiety in China. American Anthropologist 105(4):753-764.

Because of increasing interactions with the dominant society and growing Chinese immigrants in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (IMAR), Mongolians need to increase their competency by learning Chinese. However, with the loss of their original language, Mongolians seem to loss their identity. Though Mongolian courses are offered now, the balance between Mongolian and Chinese remains the problem. Learning Chinese is the market-oriented demand while keeping Mongolian is important for cultural preservation.
China

Mongolia Autonomous Region

Language policy

Identity


Cultural anthropology

Gladney, Dru C. 2004.

Dislocating China: Reflections on Muslims, Minorities, and Other Subaltern Subjects. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Chinese nationality was built upon the majority identity-Han ren (Han people) and many ethnic minorities. The government in China constructs ethnicity in binary minority/ majority terms. Han represents modernity, normality and unexotic while the minority represents the colorful, erotic, and exotic. China’s policy toward the minorities is termed as “internal colonialism” because the minority groups are still defined by the dominant groups.
China

Han ren


Minority identity

Representation

Cultural politics

Cultural anthropology

Hillman, Ven. 2003.

Paradise under Construction: Minorities, Myths and Modernity in Northwest Yunnan. Asian Ethnicity 4(2):175-190.

Zhongdian County is one of three counties constituting the Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. It was renamed as Shangri-la for developing tourism. The whole town was constructed according to the Han people’s imagination of an exotic Tibetan village. Even though the government represents a specific image of Tibetan culture to tourists, which the author called “on stage” performance, Tibetans keeps performing their ethnicity in an “off stage” platform. The continuing performance of ethnicity contests the official version of ethnicity.
China

Northwest Yunnan

Tibet

Ethnic tourism



Cultural performance

Cultural anthropology

Hjorleifur, Jonsson. 2000.

Yao Minority Identity and the Location of Difference in the South China Borderlands. Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology 65(1):56-82.

Yao is a minority ethnic group living in South West China. They used to be rebels to Chinese regime. After the modern state was built, their relationship was redefined because of the Chinese government’s policy of building museums and documenting history. The policy defines cultural differences for the purpose of nation building. By doing this, the state becomes the cultural framework and the minority cultures are reconstructed within it.


Southwest China

Upland Yao

Museumizing

Minority identity

Modern state

Anthropology

Janes, Craig R. 1999.

Imagined Lives, Suffering and the Work of Culture: the Embodied Discourses of Conflict in Modern Tibet. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 13(4):391-412.

“Rlung” in Tibetan culture means the balance of the body and mind. The imbalance brings physical illness, which happens during the modernization of Tibet. The imbalance is caused by the personal and social suffering that reflects the mix of classical Buddhist ontology with the modern politics of Tibetan identity. Thus, cosmopolitan ideas about the natures of Tibet, Tibetan Buddhism and Chinese modernity shape contemporary Tibetan cultural patterns.
China

Lhasa


Tibet

Rlung disorder

Modernization

Ethnomedicine

Jing, Ma. 2003.

Transformation of the Social Organization of Some Minority Ethnic Groups in Yunnan over the Past Fifty Years. Chinese sociology and anthropology 35(3):10-36.

The research is conducted in three Yunnan minority groups. Since the reform and opening policy of China, reconciliation and conflicts between different ethnic groups occur often. Social organizations control conflicts by coordinating tradition and modernity. But ethnic identities are also strengthened by identifying self and others during the conflicts. Therefore, with growing self-ethnic awareness, the creation of a unifying national identity becomes harder.
China

Yunnan


Minority ethnic groups

Social organization

Economic development

Modernization

Anthropology

Litzinger, Ralph A. 1998.

Memory Work: Reconstituting the Ethnic in Post-Mao China. Cultural Anthropology. 13(2): 224-255.

National identity is transforming in China today. By bridging the past, present, and the future, minority groups find their past history and act as participants in the main cultures. This transtion may turn the ethnic minorities from an unstable factor into active particiapants, which results in reshpaing China politics. The author uses the ethnic minority Yao as an example to illustrate the identity shift process.


Southern China

Yao


Minority ethnics

National identity

Memory

Cultural anthropology



Litzinger, Ralph A. 2000.

Other Chinas: the Yao and the Politics of National Belonging. Duke University Press.

This book discusses the change of Yao society from Cultural Revolution to 1990s. Yao identity becomes complex because Yao’s relative status to main Chinese society is still changing. Relocating and redefining the place of ethnic minority by the government keeps influencing Yao’s identity and national belonging. Though Yao sees itself as part of Chinese society now, some Yaos are unsatisfied about being treated as a reactionary force in Chinese history.

China


Yao

Relocating

Identity

National belonging

Anthropology

McCormick, Barrett L. Su Shaozhi. Xiao Xiaoming. 1992.



The 1989 Democracy Movement: A Review of the Prospects for Civil Society in China. Pacific Affairs 65(2):182-202.

Chinese civil society has been forming since 1989. Democratic movement can be dated back to May Fourth movement in 1919. The author identifies the role of economic development, changes of social structure, and intellectual attitude as important factors of emerging Chinese civil society. The author also compares East European countries with China.


China

Civil society

Democratic movements

Tiananmen Square

May Forth movements, 1919

Eastern Europe

McKhann, Charlse. 1995.

The Naxi and the nationalities Questions. In Cultural encounters on China’s Ethnic Frontiers. Stevan Harrell ed. Pp: 29-62. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

The author examines the nationality questions from the division of a single ethnicity, Naxi, as Naxi and Mosuo. The author claims that the distinction is a result of policy imposition. The argument here is not about whether the Naxi and Mosuo are the same ethnic or not, but about the awareness of the man-made category, which may confuse the national identities of the minority groups.
China

Naxi


Mosuo

National identity



Mackerras, Colin. 2003.

China’s Ethnic Minorities and Globalization. London; New York: Routledge Curzon.

The two minorities, the Uyghurs in Xinjian and Tibetans of Tibet, form secessionist movements in China. The state tries to integrate those minorities into the national framework by imposing economic development policies. The rising living standard in Tibet and Inner Mongolia decreased separatist movements in the 1990s. Globalization, however, gradually diminishes cultural differences, which makes people want to preserve their local cultures and strengthens separatist movements of Uyghur.
China

Xinjian


Uyghur

Tibet


Globalization

Separation movement

Makley, E. Charlene. 2003.

Gendered Boundaries in Motion: Space and Identity on the Sino-Tibetan Frontier. American Ethnologist 30(4): 597-6l9.

Females are important for maintaining Tibet ethnic identity under various assimilation pressures. Nowadays, young Tibetan men leave home searching for futures in the Chinese state. Tibetan women are given the burden of maintaining the traditional culture among Han and foreign tourists. Thus, Tibetan women distinguish Tibetans from the outsiders, helping to maintain Tibetan identity and traditional culture.
China

Tibet


Gender

Ethnic identity

Assimilation

Schein, Louisa. 1997.

Gender and Internal Orientalism in China. Modern China. 23(1): 69-98.

Internal orientalism is culturally imagined domination among different ethnics, which is brought by recent development of tourism in Kaili, Guizhou. As part of developing tourism, the village forces Miao women to perform traditional dancing and singing for male Han observers. The performance of traditional culture has an implication: by defining the performance as part of minority traditional cultures, those minority groups and females are frozen in time and cannot pursue modernity.


China

Miao


Internal orientalism

Ethnic tourism

Gender

Modernity



Cultural anthropology

Schein, Louisa. 1999.

Performing Modernity. Cultural Anthropology 14(3):361-395.

The author presents his observation of Miao weddings in Xinjian. The wedding was a mixture of traditions and modernity from the set up of the new room and the constitution of participants. Many participants were crossovers, who performed both the tradition and modernity. Aside from the wedding, performing traditional culture for the public also represents the modernized Miao identity. Crossovers and the cultural performance show that to maintain traditional culture does not contradict modernity.

China

Xinjian


Miao

Cultural performance

Modernity

Cultural anthropology

Schein, Louisa. 2000.

Minority rules: the Miao and the Feminine in China’s Cultural Politics. Durham. Duke University Press.

After 1949, China government re-categorized the minority groups because of the needs of nation building and economic development. Growing economics in the minority regions draws attentions from foreigners. Those foreigners’ interests of minority culture stimulate the development of ethnic tourism. In order to improve tourism’s quality for attracting more tourists, those regions pursue modernization.
China

Guizhou


Miao

Minority culture

Modernization

Cultural anthropology

Tapp, Nicholas. 2002.

In Defense of the Archaic: A reconsideration of the 1950s Ethnic classification Project in China. Asian Ethnicity 3(1):63-86.

Ethnic classification in 1950s was dominated by the state and minority elites. It served a particular cultural nationalism. It brought several effects. First, it privileged ethnic elites. People who can speak Mandarin can deliver their opinions. Second, falsely categorizing minority groups altered the size and formation of existing minority groups and created confusion of identities. Third, the formalized classification intervened in local processes of cultural affiliation and separation by freezing social process, which could originally be more fluid and mobile.
China

Ethnic classification

Cultural essentialism

History


Yang, Mayfair Mei-hui.1988.

The Modernity of Power in the Chinese Socialist Order. Cultural Anthropology 3(4): 408-427.

This article analyzes the differences of the ancient Chinese political order and modern political order. New Life Movement of the Chiang Kei-Sheik regime, the Cultural Revolution during the Mao’s period, and redistributive economy of the community regime were all measures taken for the purpose of modernization. But those measures promoted values, which collided with traditional culture and thus cut off the relationship between the state and the traditional ethics.

China

Modernization

Political order

Cultural anthropology




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