S-Space Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원) Dept. of International Studies (국제학과) 국제지역연구 국제지역연구 vol.11 (2002)
중국연구를 위한 인류학적 패러다임 시론: 문화접점론과 국가-사회의 관계를 중심으로
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 국제학연구소
- 국제지역연구, Vol.11 No.3, pp. 23-59
- The “state-society relations” paradigm has been the most popular methodological tool in the studies of contemporary China since late 1980s. While the “statists” emphasize the overwhelming power of the party-state that penetrates into and dominates over the social realm, the “societists” propose to acknowledge the initiatives of social forces against the official authority in making of social and economic transformation in the post-Mao era. Both presume the state and society to be independent entities and thus the two to be in the zero-sum game relation. The model of “state-society relations”, however, is based on the idea that the state and society are not mutually exclusive but constructed, defined, and transformed in the interactive relations.
Under the theoretical model of “state-society relations”, however, most studies have focused on dynamics of conflict and resistance in social transformational processes, mainly in urban sector and political field using broad concept of the state and society. Reviewing some selected studies, the present paper attempts to develop a new paradigm in the field of anthropological studies of contemporary China by focusing on the cultural sphere. Socio-cultural genres like family, lineage, market structure, religions and rituals, body and sexuality etc. that have conventionally been the sub-fields of anthropological study are re-examined as the main spaces where the state and society overlap and compete with each other.
Reconsidering these genres in the post-modem context of contemporary China is necessary because the basic social and cultural structure of China has not radically changed despite various programs of socialist revolution as initiated by the state during the past fifty years. Since the socialist regime has implemented hukou system, danwei system, and residence registration system, and emphasized the traditional family ethics and communal ideology, people"s social and geographical mobility have been strictly controlled. As an unintended consequence, people have remained in their original local communities and maintained their basic traditional institutions.
Along with the rapid development of market economy and expansion of party-state authority during the post-Mao era, these traditional forms of social and cultural institutions are revitalized as spaces where tension and conflict between the state power and social tradition are intensified and become more violently visible. In this context, it is proposed that various cultural genres should be studied from the perspective of politics of culture because they serve as nexus of power where people negotiate and redefine the power relations with the state and practice their memories of historical experiences in coping with the state modernity. In a sense, the state-culture relations is a more apt conceptual perspective to understand how people reconstruct and reproduce their life world in China.