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As a result of the strength and dominance of the centralized state, ritual action in China often takes its logic from political action. In this book Emily Ahern explores the implications of this. She argues that forms of control attempted ritually on non-human persons (gods and other spirits) in China parallel those forms of control which people regard as effective in ordinary life, namely political control, and draws important conclusions from this. She shows that in China it is possible to discard terms such as 'magic', which imply that acts directed to spirits operate on a different basis from acts in ordinary life. She also challenges claims in anthropology that, since they seem arbitrary and the actions of participants in them highly predictable, rituals support established authority. Her book will be of interest not only to specialists in Chinese studies, but to social anthropologists and others interested in the link between ritual and political processes.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780521040907
ISBN-10: 0521040906
Format: Paperback
(228mm x 152mm x 9mm)
Pages: 160
Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publish Date: 17-Sep-2007
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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