By Sulamith Heins Potter
This landmark examine of Zengbu, a Cantonese neighborhood, is the 1st accomplished research of a rural chinese language society through overseas anthropologists because the Revolution of 1949. The authors study the innovative reviews of Zengbu's peasant villagers and rfile the quick changeover from Maoist to post-Maoist China. particularly, they search to give an explanation for the patience of the deep constitution of chinese language tradition via thirty years of innovative praxis. A video documentary, produced by way of the Potters and Tom Luehrsen, Zengbu After Mao, is obtainable from New measurement Media. For video buy or condo info touch New measurement Media, 85895 Lorane road, Eugene, Oregon 97405.
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Extra info for China's Peasants: The Anthropology of a Revolution
Elders who were controlled by the powerful and wealthy were hated symbols of corruption. In addition to class divisions between gentry families and peasants of varying degrees of wealth, Zengbu villages also contained slaves. Each lineage village prior to Liberation owned five or six slave families, the descendants of men who had been purchased by wealthy ancestors in the past and were later left as property attached to an ancestral hall. Called ernanzai ("second male servant or second male child") in Zengbu, these families were literally the property of ancestral halls and could not leave the lineage that owned them.
Those who could not sell their children took them to the crossroads between Shilong and Dongguan and gave them away to anyone who would agree to feed them and save their lives. After Liberation The old "feudal" order: Zengbu before Liberation 31 many Zengbu families succeeded in tracing some of these lost family members and reuniting their families. But most of the sold children could never be found. One Zengbu woman recalls what happened to her, a girl of six, during the occupation: In 1938 the Japanese invaded my home village and took everything we had, including all our food.
Widows were not supposed to remarry, no matter how young. If they did remarry or were married off, they had to move into their new husband's village in the dead of night to conceal the shame of it. Men, however, were permitted to take more than one wife, to ensure the birth of a male heir or simply as status symbols. Wealthy men had multiple wives inhabiting separate households in Zengbu and concubines in the town as well. The crucial relation in the traditional family was the relationship between parents and sons, and not the relationship between husband and wife.