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postgraduate thesis: Islam, desires, and intimate relations in an ethnic context : exploration of extramarital relationships among the Hui in Western China

TitleIslam, desires, and intimate relations in an ethnic context : exploration of extramarital relationships among the Hui in Western China
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Laidler, KA
Issue Date2013
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Niu, X. [牛璇]. (2013). Islam, desires, and intimate relations in an ethnic context : exploration of extramarital relationships among the Hui in Western China. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5053371
AbstractWhile extramarital affairs and bao ernai have gained notoriety in Chinese society, the phenomena of xiaosan and ernai have been explosive in academic and legal spheres. Yet, these social phenomena among ethnic minority groups in China are unknown. This study is the first to explore the experiences of extramarital relations outside official marriage among the Hui ethnic group in China. The extramarital relations in the specific dual (Han/Hui) cultural context are interpreted and understood diversely due to the interplay among a host of conditioning factors –interests, beliefs, norms, legal codes, moral sanctions. By using the snowball sampling method, this study has deployed in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with 41 Hui men and women living in either the capital or in a the small town oin Qinghai Province in western China. This thesis examines the way in which Islamic religious values are played out in the context of Chinese law and extramarital relations. It also examines why, given the Hui knowledge of their religious and ethnic position, the Hui engage in extramarital affairs outside official marriage. Thus, it seeks to understand the Hui with respect to their intimacy and sexual relations both within and outside official marriage in contemporary China. This study argues that, in the local context, the Hui preserve their religious beliefs and Islamic values to differentiate themselves from other ethnic groups. Islam is a key marker of their ethnicity, functioning as religious law to culturally validate their behavior. Local knowledge of legal pluralism enables the Hui to act defiantly, despite the state’s disapproval of their practices of extramarital intimacy and sex. The interaction between the state and customary law is under the unilateral control of the state. Instead of coexisting, this legal unilateralization shows that customary law usually gives way to state law wherever they intersect. As a result, the interplay of the two legal cultures – that of the Chinese state and that of Islam – produces crime, but also makes extramarital relationships in the Hui context possible. I argue that Islamic beliefs cannot fully explain the individualism and subjectivity of Muslims in the context of extramarital practices, especially within a transforming China and a globalizing economy. The Hui articulate and negotiate their multiple affective, sexual, and material desires to raise their self-awareness of aspirations and construe their autonomy and self-representation in order to justify their behavior. Individual desires also play a pivotal role in interpreting their practices, and are in turn played out in the intersection of intimacy, gender, ethnicity, social status, and age. The interplay of ethnicity and desires helps us to better understand these experiences in a cultural context that includes increased ethnic consciousness among the Hui and the emergence of varied desires among them within desiring China.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectAdultery - China
Muslims - China
Dept/ProgramSociology
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/210385

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorLaidler, KA-
dc.contributor.authorNiu, Xuan-
dc.contributor.author牛璇-
dc.date.accessioned2015-06-12T23:09:31Z-
dc.date.available2015-06-12T23:09:31Z-
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.identifier.citationNiu, X. [牛璇]. (2013). Islam, desires, and intimate relations in an ethnic context : exploration of extramarital relationships among the Hui in Western China. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5053371-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/210385-
dc.description.abstractWhile extramarital affairs and bao ernai have gained notoriety in Chinese society, the phenomena of xiaosan and ernai have been explosive in academic and legal spheres. Yet, these social phenomena among ethnic minority groups in China are unknown. This study is the first to explore the experiences of extramarital relations outside official marriage among the Hui ethnic group in China. The extramarital relations in the specific dual (Han/Hui) cultural context are interpreted and understood diversely due to the interplay among a host of conditioning factors –interests, beliefs, norms, legal codes, moral sanctions. By using the snowball sampling method, this study has deployed in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with 41 Hui men and women living in either the capital or in a the small town oin Qinghai Province in western China. This thesis examines the way in which Islamic religious values are played out in the context of Chinese law and extramarital relations. It also examines why, given the Hui knowledge of their religious and ethnic position, the Hui engage in extramarital affairs outside official marriage. Thus, it seeks to understand the Hui with respect to their intimacy and sexual relations both within and outside official marriage in contemporary China. This study argues that, in the local context, the Hui preserve their religious beliefs and Islamic values to differentiate themselves from other ethnic groups. Islam is a key marker of their ethnicity, functioning as religious law to culturally validate their behavior. Local knowledge of legal pluralism enables the Hui to act defiantly, despite the state’s disapproval of their practices of extramarital intimacy and sex. The interaction between the state and customary law is under the unilateral control of the state. Instead of coexisting, this legal unilateralization shows that customary law usually gives way to state law wherever they intersect. As a result, the interplay of the two legal cultures – that of the Chinese state and that of Islam – produces crime, but also makes extramarital relationships in the Hui context possible. I argue that Islamic beliefs cannot fully explain the individualism and subjectivity of Muslims in the context of extramarital practices, especially within a transforming China and a globalizing economy. The Hui articulate and negotiate their multiple affective, sexual, and material desires to raise their self-awareness of aspirations and construe their autonomy and self-representation in order to justify their behavior. Individual desires also play a pivotal role in interpreting their practices, and are in turn played out in the intersection of intimacy, gender, ethnicity, social status, and age. The interplay of ethnicity and desires helps us to better understand these experiences in a cultural context that includes increased ethnic consciousness among the Hui and the emergence of varied desires among them within desiring China.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.subject.lcshAdultery - China-
dc.subject.lcshMuslims - China-
dc.titleIslam, desires, and intimate relations in an ethnic context : exploration of extramarital relationships among the Hui in Western China-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5053371-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineSociology-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5053371-
dc.date.hkucongregation2013-

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