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Work and relatedness in rural southwest China.

Harthardottir, Sigrun (2003) Work and relatedness in rural southwest China. MPhil thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

This thesis is a study of a village in rural southwest China. It explores the meaning and interrelations of three major concepts; work, relatedness and modernity, in order to understand everyday life in the village. Broadly, it ponders the questions what is work, what does it produce and to what extent does what you do and where you do it determine who you are. The study pays close attention to context and 'resonance'. The analysis is firmly rooted in the material environment and 'praxis' as well as consideration of verbal discourse. In short, it is argued that work, defined as all significant daily activities of villagers, creates relatedness in the village and outside it, and also defines villagers' place in the context of the wider modern world. In the village, rippling circles of action stretch from individual houses and outwards to fields and mountains. This flow of people through these circles is punctuated with greetings to friends and neighbours, exchange of news and gossip, favours and gifts. Relationships are produced through activity in these circles - working in them and moving through them. The complementarities of the work of men and women are emphasised but there is nevertheless a distinguishable division of labour by gender and generation. In the larger Chinese context, what it is like to be an 'uncivilised' and 'backward' peasant is discussed with its inherent distinction between 'a salaried job' and 'manual labour'; a salaried job being part of a modernity which young people and their parents on their behalf often aspire to and manual labour being what villagers do to earn their livelihoods.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Anthropology, Cultural, Sociology, Social Structure and Development, Asian Studies
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/2678

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