Handbook on Ethnic Minorities in China
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Handbook on Ethnic Minorities in China

Edited by Xiaowei Zang

This much-needed volume explains who ethnic minorities are and how well do they do in China. In addition to offering general information about ethnic minority groups in China, it discusses some important issues around ethnicity, including ethnic inequality, minority rights, and multiculturalism. Drawing on insights and perspectives from scholars in different continents the contributions provide critical reflections on where the field has been and where it is going, offering readers possible directions for future research on minority ethnicity in China. The Handbook reviews research and addresses key conceptual, theoretical and methodological issues in the study of ethnicity in China.
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Chapter 11: Gender norms among ethnic minorities: beyond ‘(Han) Chinese patriarchy’

Shanshan Du


In chapter 11, Shanshan Du challenges the concept of ‘Chinese patriarchy’ by stressing the diversity and dynamics of gender norms among ethnic minorities in China. She first offers a sketch of gendered cultural conventions of ethnic minorities in the context of the invasive influence of patriarchy during their interactions with Han Chinese and the state. She shows that minority peoples have always been actively appropriating, negotiating, contesting, and resisting the powerful encroachment of Han patriarchy. As a result, diverse gender systems of minority heritages have sustained to varying degrees, and continue to compete with Han patriarchy, amidst radical socio-cultural transformations across China since 1950s. Next, Du examines the gender norms among the Lahu and the Mosuo, respectively. By exploring the socio-cultural principles underlying the Lahu and Mosuo model of gender-egalitarianism, she highlights the theoretical significance of embracing an ethnic dimension in the study of gender norms in China, and cross-cultural studies of gender relations in general.

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