Tradition and the Gender of Civility

Ralph Litzinger

in Chinese Femininities/Chinese Masculinities

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2002 | ISBN: 9780520211032
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520935303 | DOI:
Tradition and the Gender of Civility

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This chapter explores the dangers and pleasures of identity—especially gendered identity—among the Yao, one of China's fifty-five officially recognized minority nationalities. In China, the Yao are known for their adherence to an esoteric form of Taoism and for their participation in some of the final battles against the Guomindang. The chapter takes up questions related to cultural identity by exploring the relationship between post-Mao discourses of civility and gender difference. It builds upon the critiques of the feminized ethnic Other, as often public images of ethnic difference have centered on an eroticized female subject. Furthermore, drawing upon research conducted in Jinxiu Yao Autonomous County in Guangxi, it argues that the politics of tradition, ethnicity, and gender difference have also centered on debates about masculinity and its meanings in a modernizing and globalizing China.

Keywords: gender identity; Yao; Taoism; feminized ethnic Other; Guangxi

Chapter.  11141 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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