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By Chuan-kang Shih

During this long-awaited ethnography, Chuan-kang Shih information the normal social and cultural stipulations of the Moso, a matrilineal crew residing at the border of Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces in southwest China. one of the Moso, a majority of the grownup inhabitants perform a traveling approach known as tisese rather than marriage because the common sexual and reproductive establishment. till lately, tisese used to be noncontractual, nonobligatory, and nonexclusive. companions lived and labored in separate families. the one prerequisite for a tisese dating used to be a mutual contract among the fellow and the lady to permit sexual entry to one another. In a accomplished account, Quest for concord explores this certain perform particularly, and provides thorough documentation, fine-grained research, and a fascinating dialogue of the folk, historical past, and constitution of Moso society. Drawing at the author's broad fieldwork, carried out from 1987 to 2006, this is often the 1st ethnography of the Moso written in English.

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Extra resources for Quest for Harmony: The Moso Traditions of Sexual Union and Family Life

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Based on a point-by-point analysis of Hsu’s argument against the Moso practice and ideology, this chapter concludes that the Moso is beyond any doubt a matrilineal society. This chapter offers an in-depth analysis of Moso kinship terminology. It points out that Moso terminology differs from any type of kinship terminology currently taught in introductory anthropology courses and that, in this regard, our textbooks must be rewritten. Finally, this chapter theorizes that the Moso matrilineal ideology lends meaning to all the most conspicuous aspects of Moso culture, such as the patterns of institutionalized sexual union, the unique kinship structure and household organization, as well as the very unusual gender system.

On the other hand, week after week and month after month, I had to listen to those elaborately concocted stories while my work could not move ahead. I was deeply frustrated. Over and over, I decided to leave the next morning and never come back. Each morning, however, I persuaded myself to try just one more time. After all, what was I going to do if I really abandoned this project? How could I know the next study would be easier or the people more cooperative? “Nobody invited me to come here,” I reasoned with myself.

Despite the progress I had made, I felt that this unique case in the history of anthropology required further examination. The Moso have highly complex social and cultural relations among the individual, the household, the descent group, and the line of consanguinity, or the genetic chain of fi liation. These perplexing conundrums are of utmost importance to an anthropological understanding of the culture, yet they are so natural to the natives that no one cared to think them through, much less articulate them in terms intelligible to an outsider—that, after all, is the job of an anthropologist.

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