Doing Business in Rural China
Liangshan's New Ethnic Entrepreneurs
Publication Year: 2001
Published by: University of Washington Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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The publication of Thomas Heberer’s Doing Business In Rural China marks at least three mileposts for the University of Washington Press series on Studies on Ethnic Groups in China, its editor, and its authors. This is the tenth book in the series, and it appears in the first return of the Year of the Pig, which saw the inaugural volume...
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This book would not have been possible without the support of many individuals and institutions. The Institute of Nationalities Studies of Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture in Xichang (research partner with the Institute of East Asian Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen) received the funding and equipment for the research...
Introduction: Liangshan and Its Entrepreneurs
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In Liangshan Prefecture in the mountainous far south of Sichuan Province, many members of the Yi, or Nuosu, ethnic group have become entrepreneurs in the past two decades.1 These entrepreneurs operate under conditions that differ significantly from those obtained in China’s coastal areas. The world market, internationalization...
1 | Nuosu Traditional Culture and Social Change
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According to official Chinese historiography, traditional Nuosu social structure was based on a two-class system comprising the “Black Yi” (N: nuoho), including nobility as well as land and slave owners, and a slave class encompassing three graded castes, known in Nuosu as quho, mgajie, and gaxy. The uppermost slave caste...
2 | The Liangshan Economic Setting and Private Entrepreneurs
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Until the 1960s, there were few industrial companies and no Nuosu entrepreneurs in Liangshan. Except for opium production and trade in the first half of the 20th century,1 the economy was based on a subsistence (Ch: zizu zigei) model. In the 1940s, the social anthropologist Lin Yaohua carried out fieldwork in Liangshan and reached...
3 | Private Sector Development in Nine Liangshan Counties
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The development of the private economic sector is affected by local factors such as geographic location, infrastructure, institutional corruption, and the extent to which local government is able to assist private enterprise. Despite innate county-to-county differences arising from these factors, as well as differences among counties...
4 | Comparative Profiles of Nuosu and Han Entrepreneurs
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Unlike Han, Nuosu are either native to the counties surveyed for this book or from other counties in Liangshan. As members of the indigenous population, they are tied into the local social structures (clans and lineages) and are therefore more capable than Han of mobilizing and using local relationships to their advantage. In...
5 | The Effect of Entrepreneurs on Local Politics
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The degree to which entrepreneurs are satisfied or dissatisfied with local politics reflects on the market situation, local government, and the state of local entrepreneurship. “Local government” here refers to county and town or township governments; local politics in China involve Communist Party organizations as well. When asked...
6 | Entrepreneurs and Social Change
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Nuosu entrepreneurs are embedded not only in local political structures but in social structures as well, and frequently serve as agents of social change. Opportunities for social influence are often found in such ethnic resources as family ties, moral obligations toward a clan or lineage, and the assumption of clan or lineage leadership...
7 | Entrepreneurs and Ethnic Relations
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How does ethnic entrepreneurship affect ethnic boundaries, concepts of ethnicity, new patterns of segregation, and ethnic competition? Our concern is not with the larger concept of ethnicity as used in ethnic mobilization but with an everyday concept of ethnicity; not with a group consciousness based on objective factors such as...
8 | Entrepreneurs and Ethnic Identity
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In addition to the obvious identity markers of time (Nuosu history) and space (Liangshan as “home”), economic success contributes to identity formation as well. Ethnic identity, which arises from proximity in a shared social space, is a collective process. The identity formation effect of entrepreneurship thus can take place only in interaction...
Conclusion: The Influence of Nuosu Entrepreneurs
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Nuosu entrepreneurs operate simultaneously in the dual worlds of the Chinese state-market economy and Nuosu clan society. I turn in this concluding chapter to a summary of the effects of entrepreneurship on society, economy, and politics in Liangshan. I consider the effects of Nuosu entrepreneurship in three areas: economic...
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Publication Year: 2001