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Lijiang Stories

Shamans, Taxi Drivers, and Runaway Brides in Reform-Era China

by Emily Chao

Publication Year: 2012

Published by: University of Washington Press


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pp. 1-1

Series Page, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

As China gets more and more connected with the rest of the world, and absorbs and adapts more and more of today’s popular culture, it remains a multiethnic and multinational country. But its ways of being multiethnic have changed greatly in the three decades and more since the beginning of the Reform Era in 1980. As differences between ethnic groups in their everyday economic...


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pp. xi-2

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pp. 3-18

In the early 1990s, two important landmarks in Lijiang Town1 faced each other across a large plaza bisected by the town’s main road. One was an iconic statue of Chairman Mao, some forty-five feet high and set atop an imposing twenty-five-foot pedestal. Mao stood with his arm raised, his hand reaching outward and his fingers pointing toward the sky...

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1. The Maoist Shaman and the Madman

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pp. 19-48

On a cool summer afternoon in 1991, a shaman (sanba) arrived in a dusty, mud-brick Naxi village to cure a farmer who had gone mad. During the ritual that followed, the shaman called on Chairman Mao, Zhou Enlai, and Deng Xiaoping to assist her in driving out demons, while she instructed the...

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2. Dongba Culture and the Authenticization of Marginality

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pp. 49-81

Dongba culture purports to describe a set of practices equated with the culture of the Naxi ethnic group. In the twenty-first century, virtually everyone in Lijiang Town and in the rural villages of Lijiang County is familiar with this term. Naxi children learn about dongba culture in their schools, and it is used...

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3. Ethnicizing Myth, Bride Abduction, and Elopement

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pp. 82-120

“Coqbbersa,” a story that tells of the marriage between Ceiheeqbbubbeqmil and Coqsseililee, is described as the origin myth of the Naxi people which explains the importance of the Heaven Worship Ceremony (Meebiuq) to Naxi familial, spatial, and social reproduction (McKhann 1989, 157). The...

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4. Biopolitics: Fox Stench, Gender Boundaries, and the Moral Economy of Postsocialism

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pp. 121-156

One day a beautiful taxi driver disappeared. Rumors soon circulated about what had happened to her. It was assumed she had been murdered and dismembered, because no body was ever found. The crime remains unsolved.
A young man from a prominent Lijiang family fell in love with a beautiful taxi driver. They courted and planned to

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5. Marketing Difference: Dog Meat, Court Cases, and Ethnopreneurs

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pp. 157-180

At different times and places in Lijiang Prefecture, the term “dog meat” has variously referred to: an inexpensive cut of meat clandestinely substituted for lamb, an ethnic insult, an exotic culinary delicacy, a marker of cosmopolitanism, evidence of a depraved act, and the corporeal remains of a...

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Conclusion. Forgetting the Madman and Remembering the Ancient Tea Horse Road

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pp. 181-198

Since the 1990s, policies instituted by the Chinese state have shaped how Lijiang actors interpret and craft their identities and practices. A decade after the dismantling of collectivized agriculture, residents of East Wind Village still puzzle over who or what was responsible for the madness and welfare of their most impoverished fellow villager...


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pp. 199-218


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pp. 219-234


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pp. 235-248

E-ISBN-13: 9780295804385
E-ISBN-10: 0295804386
Print-ISBN-13: 9780295992228
Print-ISBN-10: 0295992220

Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 837527752
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Lijiang Stories

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Naxi (Chinese people) -- China -- Lijiang Shi -- Government relations.
  • Naxi (Chinese people) -- China -- Lijiang Shi -- Economic conditions.
  • Naxi (Chinese people) -- China -- Lijiang Shi -- Social life and customs.
  • Post-communisim -- China -- Lijiang Shi.
  • Lijiang Shi (China) -- Ethnic relations.
  • Lijiang Shi (China) -- Social conditions.
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