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Collective Surname Change: A Case Study of Lineage Transformation in a Miao Village in Southeast Guizhou in the Qing

Articles
Yingqiang ZHANG (Sun Yat-sen University)
Year: 
2004
Volume: 
2
Number: 
2
Page: 
27-51
Full text (PDF): 
Abstract: 

In traditional Chinese society, surnames were a key symbolic marker for the creation, maintenance and reconstruction of lineage organization and identity. In the lower reaches of the Qingshui river (Guizhou province) during the Qing, the development of the lumber industry led to profound changes in regional society. In the context of local social history, this paper examines the history of lineage organization among the Long surname of Wendou village, and their collective decision to “abandon the Long [surname] and adopt the Jiang [surname]”, in order to illustrate how lineage organization could serve as an important cultural tool with significant impact on local group interaction and social adjustment. This case reveals distinctive local models of lineage development, lineage structure, and lineage expression in social life. The purpose is to shed light on the gradual historical process of constructing national identity in local society in different cultural contexts.

Journal of History and Anthropology