David Faure addresses a central question of Chinese social organization: How did lineages become the core institution interfacing between local society and the imperial state? Chinese lineage studies have a venerable literature, starting with the work of Maurice Freedman (1920–75), and Faure aims to set Freedman's argument in a historical context. In an ambitious sweep from the Song to the twentieth century, Faure offers an innovative reconstruction of the 1520s to the 1580s, arguing that when the Ming commercial transformation came together with the sponsorship of Neo-Confucian ritual and ideology by the emperor and literati, this specific juncture enabled the consolidation of the lineage as the primary local social organization. While the study focuses on the Pearl River Delta, the concluding chapter cites several studies from other provinces indicating that, local diversities notwithstanding, economic power and ritual authority joined elsewhere in China as well, and not only in the south....
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Book Review| August 01 2009
Emperor and Ancestor: State and Lineage in South China
Emperor and Ancestor: State and Lineage in South China. By David Faure.
Stanford University Press,
464pp. $50.00 (cloth).
Journal of Asian Studies (2009) 68 (3): 932–934.
Sucheta Mazumdar; Emperor and Ancestor: State and Lineage in South China. Journal of Asian Studies 1 August 2009; 68 (3): 932–934. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021911809990143
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