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Chinese Ritual and Politics

$37.99 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology

  • Date Published: September 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521040907

$ 37.99 (C)
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  • As a result of the strength and dominance of the centralized state, ritual action in China often takes its logic from political action. In this book Emily Ahern explores the implications of this. She argues that forms of control attempted ritually on non-human persons (gods and other spirits) in China parallel those forms of control which people regard as effective in ordinary life, namely political control, and draws important conclusions from this. She shows that in China it is possible to discard terms such as 'magic', which imply that acts directed to spirits operate on a different basis from acts in ordinary life. She also challenges claims in anthropology that, since they seem arbitrary and the actions of participants in them highly predictable, rituals support established authority. Her book will be of interest not only to specialists in Chinese studies, but to social anthropologists and others interested in the link between ritual and political processes.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2007
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521040907
    • length: 160 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 153 x 10 mm
    • weight: 0.25kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of figures
    Acknowledgements
    Introduction
    Part I. Interpersonal Communication:
    1. Interpersonal versus non-interpersonal transaction
    2. Written bureaucratic communication
    3. Etiquette and control
    Part II. Codes:
    4. Divination
    5. Open and closed practices
    Part III. Politics:
    6. Ritual and political authorities
    7. Ritual as a learning game
    Conclusions and further questions
    Notes
    Bibliography
    Character list
    Index.

  • Author

    Emily Martin Ahern, The Johns Hopkins University

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