Download China's Peasants: The Anthropology of a Revolution by Sulamith Heins Potter PDF

By Sulamith Heins Potter

This landmark research of Zengbu, a Cantonese group, is the 1st complete research of a rural chinese language society via international anthropologists because the Revolution of 1949. The authors study the innovative reports of Zengbu's peasant villagers and record the quick changeover from Maoist to post-Maoist China. specifically, they search to give an explanation for the endurance of the deep constitution of chinese language tradition via thirty years of progressive praxis. A video documentary, produced by means of the Potters and Tom Luehrsen, Zengbu After Mao, is accessible from New measurement Media. For video buy or apartment details touch New size Media, 85895 Lorane road, Eugene, Oregon 97405.

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Extra resources for China's Peasants: The Anthropology of a Revolution

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For no matter how hard one tried — and the Cantonese villagers worked very hard indeed - one could The old "feudal" order: Zengbu before Liberation 23 not succeed unless one was lucky, and one was lucky only if supernatural power was successfully utilized in worldly affairs. Consequently, most religious and magical behavior was an attempt to avoid the unlucky elements of the universe and to control or enlist the aid of those forces and beings that could bring luck. In a sense, Zengbu villagers believed that their fates were sealed by the concatenation of astrological forces present at birth.

A person's fortune in this life was closely related to the quality of his or her linghun, which represented a person's life force and vital spirit. Illness was believed to be caused by the temporary loss of one's soul, and death was believed to result from the permanent separation of the soul from the body. The state of a person's soul was said to be either lucky or unlucky, bright or dim. A person with a bright soul succeeded in everything he or she attempted. Since persons with luminous souls were imbued with the bright yang principle, the malevolent spirits (gui), dark creatures from the underworld, shrank back from them in fear and were unable to cause them harm.

To keep on good terms with the elders, it was the custom for tenants to give them small gifts of "black money" when a lease was signed, and a chicken, duck, or goose at New Year. After each rice harvest long lines of tenant farmers could be seen trudging into the courtyards of the Zengbu ancestral halls with sacks of unhusked rice on their backs to pay their rent. Each hall had a manager. Usually a wealthy man was chosen, since it was believed that he would be less likely to embezzle money from the hall.

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