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Rumours and Social Order: A Case Study from Jiangnan, 1876

Thesis
Maoming XU (Soochow University)
Year: 
2004
Volume: 
2
Number: 
1
Page: 
151-173
Full text (PDF): 
Abstract: 

In 1876, rumours about queues being cut off and strange marks being
stamped on people’s bodies spread widely in the Jiangnan area for the
better part of a year. While similar rumours had circulated in this area in
the past, their reappearance at this time was a product of the intensifying
social crisis in nineteenth century Jiangnan, as well as the various natural
disasters that occurred in this period. As rumours spread, different social
groups such as commoners, gentry elite, officials and religious specialists
adopted different responses and precautionary measures. The conflicts,
accommodations, and cooperation among these groups vividly reveal the
social life and social order of the Jiangnan region at the time.

Journal of History and Anthropology