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Title:Living With Hierarchies: Religion, Language, and Personhood Among Wa Buddhists in Postsocialist China
Author(s):Liu, Tzu-Kai
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Keller, Janet D.
Department / Program:Anthropology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Religion, General
Anthropology, Cultural
Abstract:My dissertation, "Living with Hierarchies," is an ethnographic study of transformative meanings of ethno-religious practices, multiple language use, and identity politics among Southwest China's rural Wa Buddhist people. These villagers are socially and historically positioned between the dominant Chinese state and transborder Buddhist power. After analyzing their ritual chants, talk, and individual narratives, I argue that the construction of Wa Buddhist identities entails alternative strategic positionings within multiple, encompassed, and nested hierarchies. Wa Buddhist cultural and religious revival represents a key feature of Chinese ethnic politics in which the cultural is closely inter-connected with the political. In contrast to the extant literature on ethnic politics and Chinese ethnic minorities, in this dissertation I further argues that the specifics of four ethnolinguistic and religious contexts (including the history of religious conversion, ritual chants, oratory, and individual narratives about interethnic boundaries, hierarchy, and aspiration) constitute a meaningful and agentive resource for recalling social inequality, momentarily highlighting social difference, and construing identity. Specifically, this dissertation offers ethnographic data drawn from examining the sites and contexts in which conventional ethno-religious repertoires and language use are critically subject to negotiation and reapplication in postsocialist Wa Buddhist communities in China.
Issue Date:2009
Description:272 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2009.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI3392196
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-17
Date Deposited:2009

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