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Taming Tibet: Landscape Transformation and the Gift of Chinese Development (Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University) Paperback – Illustrated, November 15, 2013
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The violent protests in Lhasa in 2008 against Chinese rule were met by disbelief and anger on the part of Chinese citizens and state authorities, perplexed by Tibetans' apparent ingratitude for the generous provision of development. In Taming Tibet, Emily T. Yeh examines how Chinese development projects in Tibet served to consolidate state space and power. Drawing on sixteen months of ethnographic fieldwork between 2000 and 2009, Yeh traces how the transformation of the material landscape of Tibet between the 1950s and the first decade of the twenty-first century has often been enacted through the labor of Tibetans themselves. Focusing on Lhasa, Yeh shows how attempts to foster and improve Tibetan livelihoods through the expansion of markets and the subsidized building of new houses, the control over movement and space, and the education of Tibetan desires for development have worked together at different times and how they are experienced in everyday life.
The master narrative of the PRC stresses generosity: the state and Han migrants selflessly provide development to the supposedly backward Tibetans, raising the living standards of the Han's "little brothers." Arguing that development is in this context a form of "indebtedness engineering," Yeh depicts development as a hegemonic project that simultaneously recruits Tibetans to participate in their own marginalization while entrapping them in gratitude to the Chinese state. The resulting transformations of the material landscape advance the project of state territorialization. Exploring the complexity of the Tibetan response to―and negotiations with―development, Taming Tibet focuses on three key aspects of China's modernization: agrarian change, Chinese migration, and urbanization. Yeh presents a wealth of ethnographic data and suggests fresh approaches that illuminate the Tibet Question.
In Taming Tibet, Emily Yeh offers a new twist to current paradigms of Chinese development, presenting a trove of new evidence from China's politically unstable western periphery. Drawing on 16 months of intensive fieldwork undertaken between 2000 and 2009, Yeh traces the devastating effects of China's recent state-subsidized and state-led land development campaign in Lhasa and its peri-urban regions.... Yeh's fieldwork, coming during a period of rapid transformation in China's land regime, provides a valuable counterpoint to a development literature that has focused for decades on China's coastal regions to the neglect of its hinterland.-- Julia Chuang ― The Journal of Peasant Studies
In her masterful new book, Taming Tibet, Emily Yeh discusses the gift of development in modern Lhasa in a critical fashion, providing an excellent and informative examination of Chinese development projects over the last sixty plus years.... It will be of use to scholars from a variety of fields including ethnicity in China, development studies, and geography, and is also a welcome addition to the Tibetological field.-- Timothy Thurston ― Asian Ethnology
This is an important and authoritative analysis of contemporary socio-economics and politics in Tibet and does require some understanding of the academic discipline involved. However, the technical jargon is offset to a great extent by the numerous first-hand accounts of the author's time in and around Lhasa, which are invariably insightful, often entertaining, and help to bring a touch of light relief to what is essentially a dark and sombre subject.-- Wendy Palace ― Asian Affairs
Emily T. Yeh's Taming Tibet is one of the best analyses of the contemporary socioeconomics and politics of development of Tibet. The book is based on powerful ethnographic details and strong theoretical analysis and situates the current sociopolitical milieu within the context of the larger issues of the state’s goal of 'development’ and local subjectivity in transforming the Tibetan landscape. Yeh shows that the issue is not a simple dichotomy between state action and local resistance. The ‘gift of development’ produces an asymmetrical relationship between donor and recipient: the Chinese state’s desire to make an imprint on the territory while at the same time creating ‘internal others’ and ‘objects of suspicion.’ Taming Tibet should be required reading for anyone interested in understanding contemporary Tibet and China’s relations with periphery regions.-- Tsering Wangdu Shakya, Canada Research Chair in Religion and Contemporary Society in Asia, University of British Columbia, author of The Dragon in the Land of Snows
- Publisher : Cornell University Press; Illustrated edition (November 15, 2013)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 344 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0801478324
- ISBN-13 : 978-0801478321
- Reading age : 18 years and up
- Item Weight : 1 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.12 x 0.81 x 9.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,928,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Reviewed in the United States on September 25, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on September 25, 2019
Landscape Transformation and the Gift of Chinese Development??? In other words, destruction of Tibet under Chinese occupation.