Chinese Kinship: Contemporary Anthropological Perspectives, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Chinese Kinship

Contemporary Anthropological Perspectives, 1st Edition

Edited by Susanne Brandtstädter, Gonçalo D Santos


280 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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The essays in this volume present contemporary anthropological perspectives on Chinese kinship, its historical complexity and its modern metamorphoses. The collection draws particular attention to the reverberations of larger socio-cultural and politico-economic processes in the formation of sociality, intimate relations, family histories, reproductive strategies and gender relations – and vice-versa.

Drawing on a wealth of ethnographic material from the late imperial period and from contemporary Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China, from northern and southern regions as well as from rural and urban settings, the volume provides unique insights into the historical and spatial diversities of the Chinese kinship experience. This emphasis on diversity challenges the classic ‘lineage paradigm’ of Chinese kinship and establishes a dialogue with contemporary anthropological debates about human kinship reflecting on the emergence of radically new family formations in the Euro-American context.

Chinese Kinship will be of interest to anthropologists and sinologists, as to historians and social scientists in general.


"This book reintroduces and updates the study of Chinese kinship." - Myron L. Cohen, Columbia University; The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute Volume 16, Number 2, June 2010

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION: Chinese kinship metamorphoses Susanne Brandtstädter and Gonçalo D. Santos PART 1: MOTION, MIGRATION AND URBANITY 1. ‘Families we create’: Women’s kinship in rural China as spatialized practice Ellen Judd 2. Living a single life. The plight and adaptations of the bachelors in Yishala Hua Han 3. Practicing connectiveness as kinship in Urban China William Jankowiak PART 2: INTIMACY, GENDER AND POWER 4. The ties that bind: Female homosociality and the production of intimacy in rural China Sara Friedman 5. The ‘stove-family’ and the process of kinship in rural South China Gonçalo D. Santos 6. Actually existing Chinese matriarchy Charles Stafford 7. The gender of work and the production of kinship value in Taiwan and China Susanne Brandtstädter PART 3: STATE, BODY AND CIVILIZATION 8. Becoming a mother in Late Imperial China: maternal doubles and the ambiguities of fertility Francesca Bray 9. Education and the governing of child-centred relatedness Andrew Kipnis 10. Disruption, commemoration and family repair Stephan Feuchtwang AFTERWORD Janet Carsten

About the Editors

Susanne Brandtstädter is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Oslo, Norway.

Gonçalo D. Santos is a Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology

About the Series

Routledge Contemporary China Series

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Marriage & Family