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The Age of Wild Ghosts: Memory, Violence, and Place in Southwest China
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The Age of Wild Ghosts: Memory, Violence, and Place in Southwest China

4.21  ·  Rating Details ·  34 Ratings  ·  4 Reviews
In Erik Mueggler's powerful and imaginative ethnography, a rural minority community in the mountains of Southwest China struggles to find its place at the end of a century of violence and at the margins of a nation-state. Here, people describe the present age, beginning with the Great Leap Famine of 1958-1960 and continuing through the 1990s, as "the age of wild ghosts." ...more
Paperback, 375 pages
Published April 9th 2001 by University of California Press (first published 2001)
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Meghan Fidler
The Age of Wild Ghosts is an ethnography of a set of mountain villages which make the Zhizuo community in Southwestern China. The main portion of the text focuses on the ts'ici system, which can be described as community obligation of hosting outsiders--often government officials. The most affluent households in the rural community shared this obligation as it rotated from village to village year to year. This social network of obligations and tributes was disrupted during the Great Leap ...more
Jo
Jun 09, 2015 Jo rated it it was amazing
What a fascinating book. I can only imagine the experiences and effort that went into creating it. Erik Mueggler successfully brings to life the stories, traditions and agonies of a minority rural community in Southwest China, making vivid the connection between its age old ritual beliefs and practices and its present day relationship with the state. In the language of wild ghosts, possessions and hauntings, we witness the pains of the past bursting into the present, laying blame, resisting ...more
Lance Worth
Sep 30, 2012 Lance Worth rated it liked it
not sure I liked it. Definitely a page turner, but at the same time, I found myself uncomfortable with the interpretation of another's myths and beliefs. Maybe I misunderstood, but I didn't think that was part of ethnography.
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Jun 09, 2007 Dagezi rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Would-be Ethnographers, People interested in recent Chinese history
The only ethnography that I've ever read that is a page turner. Stands with the best fiction.
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