Gifts, Favors, & Banquets: The Art of Social Relationships in China / Edition 1

Gifts, Favors, & Banquets: The Art of Social Relationships in China / Edition 1

by Mayfair Mei-hui Yang
     
 

ISBN-10: 080149592X

ISBN-13: 9780801495922

Pub. Date: 08/28/1994

Publisher: Cornell University Press

An elaborate and pervasive set of practices, called guanxi, underlies everyday social relationships in contemporary China. Obtaining and changing job assignments, buying certain foods and consumer items, getting into good hospitals, buying train tickets, obtaining housing, even doing business—all such tasks call for the skillful and strategic giving of gifts and…  See more details below

Overview

An elaborate and pervasive set of practices, called guanxi, underlies everyday social relationships in contemporary China. Obtaining and changing job assignments, buying certain foods and consumer items, getting into good hospitals, buying train tickets, obtaining housing, even doing business—all such tasks call for the skillful and strategic giving of gifts and cultivating of obligation, indebtedness, and reciprocity.Mayfair Mei-hui Yang's close scrutiny of this phenomenon serves as a window to view facets of a much broader and more complex cultural, historical, and political formation. Using rich and varied ethnographic examples of guanxi stemming from her fieldwork in China in the 1980s and 1990s, the author shows how this "gift economy" operates in the larger context of the socialist state redistributive economy.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801495922
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
08/28/1994
Series:
Wilder House Series in Politics, History and Culture Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Fieldwork, Politics, and Modernity in China1
The "Discovery" of Guanxixue1
Guanxixue as an Object of Study6
Fieldwork in a Culture of Fear15
The Subject-Position of the Anthropologist25
State Projects of Modernity in China and Native Critiques31
1Guanxi Dialects and Vocabulary49
Popular Discourse51
Official Discourse58
Key Words and Concepts of Guanxixue in Popular Discourse64
2The Scope and Use-Contexts of Guanxi75
The City and the Countryside75
The Gender Dimension78
Urban Occupational Strata85
The Variety of Use-Contexts91
A Society of Gatekeepers99
Corporate and Administrative Uses101
3The "Art" in Guanxixue: Ethics, Tactics, and Etiquette109
Guanxi Bases: Kinship, Friendship, and Other Personal Relations111
Affective Sentiments: Yiqi, Ganqing, and Renqing119
Enlarging a Guanxi Network123
The Tactic, Obligation, and Form of Giving and Receiving126
The Obligation to Repay139
4On the Recent Past of Guanxixue: Traditional Forms and Historical (Re-)Emergence146
Three Official Histories146
Guanxixue and Chinese Culture148
The Postrevolutionary Decline and Rise of Guanxixue153
From "Use-Value" to "Exchange-Value": The Entrance of Market Forces159
The Art of Guanxi Does Not Retreat166
5The Political Economy of Gift Relations177
The Techniques of Power in the State Redistributive Economy179
Countertechniques in the Gift Economy188
Propositions204
6"Using the Past to Negate the Present": Ritual Ethics and State Rationality in Ancient China209
"Criticize Lin Biao, Criticize Confucius"210
A Reinterpretation of the Past216
7The Cult of Mao, Guanxi Subjects, and the Return of the Individual245
A Sweep of Red: State Subjects and the Cult of Mao247
The Return of the Individual Subject276
Guanxi Subjectivity of Addition and Subtraction281
8Rhizomatic Networks and the Fabric of an Emerging Minjian in China287
In-between the Individual and Society295
In-between the Individual and Groups or Associations300
Rhizomatic Kinship and Guanxi Polity: From Guanxi Networks to a Minjian305
Conclusion: Back to the Source312
The Female Supple Force of Exchange312
Ritual as a Self-organizing Vehicle of the Minjian317
Renqing over Guanxi320
Glossary323
Chinese and Japanese Bibliography334
English Bibliography341
Index361

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