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Reviews 145 Bryna Goodman. Native Place, City, and Nation: Regional Networh and Identities in Shanghai, 1853-1937. Berkeley: University ofCalifornia Press, 1995. xii, 367 pp. Hardcover $48.00. Students ofthe history ofmodern Shanghai have long held an image ofit as a city of sojourners—immigrants from Ningbo, Chaozhou, Subei, and elsewhere—who retained strong ties to their native places even after a lifetime in China's largest metropolis. Indeed, one major recent work on Shanghai is even tided Shanghai Sojourners (ed. Frederic Wakeman, Jr., and Wen-hsin Yeh, China Research Monograph [Berkeley: Institute ofEast Asian Studies, 1992]). The outsiders formed native-place associations that played a prominent and visible role in Shanghai during its rapid development in the century from its opening as a treaty port until World War II. But surely these parochial, particularistic associations gave way to more "modern," universalistic constructions ofidentity. Would not a second-generation Ningbo banker begin to see himselfas a Shanghai ren having more in common with a second-generation Guangzhou banker than with his ancestral Ningbo hometown? As the nationalist, anti-imperialist movement flourished in the twentieth century, would not a university student in Shanghai identify him- or herselfwith China as a nation rather than hold onto parochial ties to native place? In this important new study, NativePlace, City, andNation, Bryna Goodman suggests otherwise. Goodman argues effectively fhat native-place ties not only played a prominent role in the development ofmodern Shanghai, but evolved over time to serve new, even "modern" functions. Rather than a counter to the construction ofa national, "Chinese" identity, native-place ties were often the cement upon which the anti-imperialist movement was built. Goodman's work will compel students ofmodern Chinese history to reexamine key issues such as the nature ofthe urbanization process and the relationship between locality and nation in modern China. Goodman traces the history ofnative-place groups from the opening of Shanghai through the eruption ofthe Sino-Japanese War of1937-1945. Although Shanghai was already a trading center ofnote prior to the Opium War, the arrival ofWestern traders heightened the influx ofgroups from the outside. Indeed, most compradors who accompanied the Europeans were from Guangzhou; many boatmen came from Guangdong and Fujian. Ningbo merchants, sensing greater© 1997 by University opportunity in Shanghai, arrived in strengüi and maintained a dominant position ofHawai'i Pressfor the next century. Even the lowly Subei immigrants, studied by Emily Honig, found employment at the lower end ofthe job chain. Goodman stresses one key factor fhat gave rise to native-place groups: these new residents ofShanghai 146 China Review International: Vol. 4, No. 1, Spring 1997 lacked a common spoken language. Few outsiders spoke Shanghai dialect; few knew Mandarin, the language of officials. As a consequence, oral communication was often limited to fellow native-place associates. Goodman details the organization and function ofnative-place groups. A wide range oforganizational structures and terminology came into being. Groups with powerful, wealthy members, such as the Ningbo guild, were far more prominent than less prestigious communities, such as the much more numerous Subei group. In the late Qing, most ofthe associations or huiguan, controlled by small elites, provided essential services for sojourners. These included assistance with burial (since most preferred to have their coffins returned home ifpossible), the organization offestivals, the representation ofmembers in court cases and disputes , theatrical performances in the local dialects, and defense of the honor of the native place. Goodman provides interesting details concerning the latter; there were disputes that often led to violence and legal action. The thinness ofgovernment administration in Shanghai at a time ofrapid population growth and economic expansion created a tremendous demand for huiguan services. Indeed, foreigners often used or attempted to use the huiguan to help govern the settlements, sometimes consulting with the heads ofthe guilds when problems arose. But relations between foreigners and Chinese were often marked by conflict, and the huiguan frequendy represented their constituents in opposition to Westerners. Goodman outlines several key disputes such as the efforts by the French to seize sections ofthe Ningbo cemetery, leading to conflict in 1874 and 1898, and a dispute over anti-plague measures in 1910. These disputes sometimes developed into boycotts, riots, and demonstrations...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 145-148
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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