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Minority Rules: The Miao and the Feminine in China’s Cultural Politics (Body, Commodity, Text) Paperback – February 3, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0822324447 ISBN-10: 082232444X

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Product Details

  • Series: Body, Commodity, Text
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (February 3, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082232444X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822324447
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #679,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Minority Rules is breathtaking. Combining sophisticated cultural analysis with sharp attention to political economy, Schein illuminates not only the way the Miao have been constructed historically but how they shape their own identities through cultural performances, whether in state theater or for tourists.”—Lila Abu-Lughod, author of Veiled Sentiments and Writing Women’s Worlds


“A highly readable exploration of the cultural politics of reform-era China that deserves a broad readership among anthropologists, historians, and those in cultural studies.”—Ann Anagnost, author of National Past-Times: Narrative, Representation, and Power in Modern China

From the Publisher

“Minority Rules is breathtaking. Combining sophisticated cultural analysis with sharp attention to political economy, Schein illuminates not only the way the Miao have been constructed historically but how they shape their own identities through cultural performances, whether in state theater or for tourists.”—Lila Abu-Lughod, author of Veiled Sentiments and Writing Women’s Worlds

“A highly readable exploration of the cultural politics of reform-era China that deserves a broad readership among anthropologists, historians, and those in cultural studies.”—Ann Anagnost, author of National Past-Times: Narrative, Representation, and Power in Modern China --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Susan M. Burt on October 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
Throughout the twentieth century, Chinese recognition of and tolerance for ethnic minorities (non-Han) has waxed and waned. Very early in the century, sociologists conducted research on non-Han groups. After the revolution, there were attempts to eliminate minority religious practices, such as shamanism. During the period of industrialization, minority provinces were neglected, and depicted as backward. From the 1980's on, there seems to have been an attempt to capitalize on the existence of minorities by promoting tourism to exotic areas such as Guizhou, where many Miao live. Minorities enjoy some privileges that Han do not, such as larger permissible family size, and some linguistic accommodation in education and book production.
Schein makes use of Edward Said's notion of `orientalism,' that process of exotifying representations of other peoples in hegemonic fashion, that serves to privilege the culture of the representer. Orientalism is not solely a practice of Westerners-the urban Han Chinese indulge in `internal orientalism,' producing representations of non-Han minority people, especially of women, in a way that makes them exotic, erotic, infantilized foils to urban Han male selves. Schein documents several instances of this taking place in Xijiang, a large village known as a Miao center. There are also instances of performances of Miao ethnicity in Beijing.
Yet the Han are not alone in their portrayal of the Hmong as exotic: Miao performers contribute to this orientalistic portrayal by choreographing performances that seem "ethnic," and some performers have made careers based on these performances. Miao ethnicity becomes constructed under outsider-like gaze even by insiders.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By LazyJo on October 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
Based on her fieldwork among the Miao, an ethnic minority group in China, Schein describes the process of constructing identity in late modern China. This text is greatly helpful for scholars interested in Chinese history and culture, since it engages deeply with the historical materials, locating the central thesis within historical conjuncture between Chinese modernity and late global capitalism. Here, Schein argues that construction of the Miao as an identity cannot be understood without considering the state policy which liberalizes economic structure, in an attempt to grasp foreign cash flows. The commoditization of the ethnic identity, however, does not only mean that the ethnic group exists only for the economic gain. For those involved, especially for the Miao themselves, the process of claiming the ethnic identity themselves is constituted of contradictory moments. Schein here points to the gendered dimension of this phenomenon, noting that the "image" of the Miao, coveted and sentimentalized by both Chinese majority and foreigners, is, in fact, feminine body. An interesting study. I would like to recommend this book to those interested in learning more about modern China.
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