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postgraduate thesis: Mosuo kinship and state civilisation : making "quality" family in southwest China

TitleMosuo kinship and state civilisation : making "quality" family in southwest China
Authors
Advisors
Issue Date2019
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Link, G. J.. (2019). Mosuo kinship and state civilisation : making "quality" family in southwest China. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.
AbstractThis study will engage the concept of human quality (suzhi素质) in China, a prominent discourse of modernity and civilisation in the post-Mao period. The study will broadly explore the origins, meanings, and usage of suzhi, before considering family suzhi as a distinctive element of this project. Suzhi also exists in other contexts such as the market and education (suzhi jiaoyu 素质教育), as scholars such as Yan Hairong (Yan 2003), Ann Anagnost (Anagost 2004), and T.E. Woronov (Woronov 2009) have already deftly illustrated. For the purposes of this study, however, I am limiting my engagement to suzhi vis-à-vis childbirth, marriage, and lineage. The study first aims to position suzhi in a larger constellation of civilizing rhetoric that transects the PRC, Republican China, and much of middle-late Imperial China. One of the earliest forms of this project in southwest China was the tusi system established under the Yuan Dynasty and continued in various forms through the Ming and even, though to a lesser extent, the Qing period (Herman 2006). By tracing contemporary family suzhi in Yunnan to a history of lineage building and the tusi zhidu (土司制度), I consciously break from some attempts to locate suzhi in a specifically Communist-era, post-Mao formation of neoliberalism and governmentality (see Yan 2003; Anagnost 2004). The analytical portion of this study will be grounded in ethnographic fieldwork in the Mosuo minority region surrounding Lugu Lake. The first stage of my fieldwork will consider authoritative, public statements of ideal family suzhi through schools, propaganda, family planning policies, and development projects in the Lugu Lake area. In the second stage, I will explore how Mosuo families themselves reappropriate and relocate this discourse in a broader set of practices and values beyond state purview. The study will argue that family suzhi is grounded in local notions of ‘quality’, which at once inhabit state language while also giving it new, unofficial lives. This often occurs well below the threshold of active or intentional resistance. Some previous attempts to frame suzhi in terms of governmentality suggest one-directional, top-down transmission, with little room for agency or interpretation from actual subjects. A more challenging view recognises the role of subjects themselves in re-negotiating and redefining suzhi for local ends. Theoretically, I argue for a layered understanding of suzhi which accommodates governmentality as a partial explanatory framework, alongside other co-occurring analytics, to help understand suzhi in contemporary Yunnan.
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
SubjectNaxi (Chinese people) - China - Civilization - Ninglang Yizu Zizhixian
China - Naxi (Chinese people) - Civilization - Yanyuan Xian
Social life and customs - China - Naxi (Chinese people) - Ninglang Yizu Zizhixian
China - Naxi (Chinese people) - Yanyuan Xian - Social life and customs
Dept/ProgramHumanities and Social Sciences
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/274677

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorLeung, KCA-
dc.contributor.advisorNakayama, I-
dc.contributor.authorLink, Graham John-
dc.date.accessioned2019-09-09T07:21:31Z-
dc.date.available2019-09-09T07:21:31Z-
dc.date.issued2019-
dc.identifier.citationLink, G. J.. (2019). Mosuo kinship and state civilisation : making "quality" family in southwest China. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/274677-
dc.description.abstractThis study will engage the concept of human quality (suzhi素质) in China, a prominent discourse of modernity and civilisation in the post-Mao period. The study will broadly explore the origins, meanings, and usage of suzhi, before considering family suzhi as a distinctive element of this project. Suzhi also exists in other contexts such as the market and education (suzhi jiaoyu 素质教育), as scholars such as Yan Hairong (Yan 2003), Ann Anagnost (Anagost 2004), and T.E. Woronov (Woronov 2009) have already deftly illustrated. For the purposes of this study, however, I am limiting my engagement to suzhi vis-à-vis childbirth, marriage, and lineage. The study first aims to position suzhi in a larger constellation of civilizing rhetoric that transects the PRC, Republican China, and much of middle-late Imperial China. One of the earliest forms of this project in southwest China was the tusi system established under the Yuan Dynasty and continued in various forms through the Ming and even, though to a lesser extent, the Qing period (Herman 2006). By tracing contemporary family suzhi in Yunnan to a history of lineage building and the tusi zhidu (土司制度), I consciously break from some attempts to locate suzhi in a specifically Communist-era, post-Mao formation of neoliberalism and governmentality (see Yan 2003; Anagnost 2004). The analytical portion of this study will be grounded in ethnographic fieldwork in the Mosuo minority region surrounding Lugu Lake. The first stage of my fieldwork will consider authoritative, public statements of ideal family suzhi through schools, propaganda, family planning policies, and development projects in the Lugu Lake area. In the second stage, I will explore how Mosuo families themselves reappropriate and relocate this discourse in a broader set of practices and values beyond state purview. The study will argue that family suzhi is grounded in local notions of ‘quality’, which at once inhabit state language while also giving it new, unofficial lives. This often occurs well below the threshold of active or intentional resistance. Some previous attempts to frame suzhi in terms of governmentality suggest one-directional, top-down transmission, with little room for agency or interpretation from actual subjects. A more challenging view recognises the role of subjects themselves in re-negotiating and redefining suzhi for local ends. Theoretically, I argue for a layered understanding of suzhi which accommodates governmentality as a partial explanatory framework, alongside other co-occurring analytics, to help understand suzhi in contemporary Yunnan. -
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.rightsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.-
dc.subject.lcshNaxi (Chinese people) - China - Civilization - Ninglang Yizu Zizhixian-
dc.subject.lcshChina - Naxi (Chinese people) - Civilization - Yanyuan Xian-
dc.subject.lcshSocial life and customs - China - Naxi (Chinese people) - Ninglang Yizu Zizhixian-
dc.subject.lcshChina - Naxi (Chinese people) - Yanyuan Xian - Social life and customs-
dc.titleMosuo kinship and state civilisation : making "quality" family in southwest China-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineHumanities and Social Sciences-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.date.hkucongregation2019-
dc.identifier.mmsid991044138426703414-

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