The lineage-village complex in Southeastern China: A long footnote in the anthropology of kinship

Allen Chun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper attempts to evaluate the current literature on descent and lineage organization in China and its significance for anthropological discussions of kinship theory. Despite increasing anthropological skepticism over the applicability of lineage theory and the corresponding decline of interest in unilineal descent, the existence of lineage organization has been an unchallenged fact for anthropologists and historians of China, in turn offering explicit support for lineage theory. Recent historical research has shed light on the diversity of Chinese kin organization over time and space for the most part without questioning the model itself. While I do not contest the existence of lineages in China, I argue that the historical conditions of their evolution squarely contradict the theoretical principles upon which lineage theory has been constructed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-450
Number of pages22
JournalCurrent Anthropology
Volume37
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1996

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