Advertisement

Performing Ethnicity: Politics of Representation in Multi-Ethnic Guilin

  • Chih-yu Shih

Abstract

Ethnicity is meaningful only if there are symbolic representations of it through people, things, places, and so on. Words and actions conducted through these representations reproduce ethnicity over time. It is considered common sense among anthropologists that the boundaries between ethnic groups cannot be fixed.1 Defining ethnicity is essentially a political decision. However, the existence of liminal groups, which move in and out of the arbitrarily set boundaries, endangers any set definition of ethnicity in the long run. Without the institution of state, the changeability of ethnic representation poses no problem to political leaders. However, since the state remains the most powerful organizing frame in the world, the relation between the fixed boundary of the state and the ambiguous, fluid boundary of an ethnic community has to be managed.

Keywords

Ethnic Minority Ethnic Identity Ethnic Community Minority Area Love Story 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    For a pioneer discussion on this in the case of China, see Stevan Harrell, Cultural Encounters on Chinas Ethnic Frontiers (Seattle: Washington University Press, 1995);Google Scholar
  2. Mette Halskov Hansen, Lessons in Being Chinese: Minority Education and Ethnic Identity in Southwest China (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999).Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    For a similar concern, see Tim Oakes, Tourism and Modernity in China (New York: Routledge, 1998).Google Scholar
  4. 3.
    P. Steven Sangeren, “History and Rhetoric of Legitimacy,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 30, no. 4 (1998): 674–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 4.
    Norma Diamond, “The Miao and Poison,” Ethnology27, no. 1 (1988): 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 5.
    For the use of alcohol in Chinese classic literature, see Chiht-sing Hsia, The Classic Chinese Novel (New York: Columbia University Press, 1968), 88–89Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    For an argument on ethnicity as imagined genealogy instead of imagined common culture, see Chih-yu Shih, “Voting for an Ancestor?” Issues and Studies 40, no. 3/4 (September/December 2004): 488–95.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    For more discussions, see Wen-chi Kung, Indigenous People and the Press (Taipei: Hanlu, 2000).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Chih-yu Shih 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chih-yu Shih

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations