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The Jade Emperor’s Last Taste of Water

An ethnography on the making of a village in China

Rautio Suvi

What constitutes and defines a village in China today? This study seeks to answer this question within the space of an ethnic minority Dong village in southwest China acknowledged for its natural and architectural beauty in national and international official heritage programmes. The Jade Emperor’s Last Taste of Water takes an ethnographic approach to deconstruct how an ethnic minority village is constituted, adjusted and redefined from the vantage point of where one stands. Distancing itself from a more comprehensive village ethnography, this thesis structures around scales, both spatial and perspectival. The thesis comprises of four parts whereby each part reverses the vantage point of the onlooker to consider a different scale. In shifting vantage points, this study argues that the conception of a village space, from whatever angle, is not a fixed phenomenon. Instead, it is a continuously reconstructed effort adopted by people according to the social hierarchical constructions that get attached to a village space. Often leading to tensions and conflicts that arise in response to these inclusive social orderings, my thesis argues that places, in this case a village space, are continuously made and remade through these responses. Drawing on broader discussions such as the dynamics of cultural heritage politics; ethnic representation; landscape and belonging; and rural ethnic subjectivities and male status, this thesis provides a comprehensive analysis of the workings behind China’s top-down policies of rural heritage reconstruction efforts to reveal the incongruences and layers of social difference that characterise rural China today.


28 €

  • Julkaisija Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta (Helsingin yliopisto)
    Julkaisuvuosi 2019
    Sivumäärä 235
    Kieli Englanti
    Ulkoasu B5,pehmeäkantinen
    ISBN 9789515149602
    ISSN 1458-3186