This book examines major areas of late imperial Chinese culture, and their relation to Chinese culture today, focusing on the competence and sophistication of ordinary people.
The work provides an overview of late imperial society and its responses to forces for change. Its ethnographically rich treatment of changes in family life under Communist rule is based on the author's fieldwork. Kinship beyond the family is treated through comparisons of the author's fieldwork sites in China and Taiwan. In dealing with the use of contracts and commodification within one community setting, it illuminates the broader economic culture of late imperial China. This book powerfully confirms that China's modernity has deep roots in its own tradition, and in doing so offers an excellent introduction to the anthropological view of China.
"A splendidly useful and revealing collection... a splendid summary of some of Cohen's best and most significant contributions to Chinese anthropology."
The China Journal