You are here

Turmoil, National Idenity and Hakka Culture: The History of a Southern Jiangxi Locale from the 12th to 18th Century

Zhifan HUANG (Nanchang University)
Full Text Download (PDF): 

In the Song dynasty, Yingqian, a region of Southern Jiangxi, was home to people known as the Dong, who had a reputation for banditry. By the Ming dynasty, the literati elite of Yingqian had organized lineages which maintained good relations with the state. In the early Qing, social turmoil and an influx of immigrants greatly weakened the local lineages of Yingqian, which had no choice but to accommodate to the presence of these increasingly powerful and government-sanctioned immigrants, known as Hakka. After the mid-Qing, large scale conflict between locals (tuzhu) and Hakka was replaced by a complex social structure and the formation of a distinctive regional culture. Thus the development of Yingqian from the land of the Dong into a place known as the “home of the Cai lineage” in the Ming was the result of state transformative efforts, while in the Qing, conflict between locals and Hakka was the result of the influx of government-supported immigrants to this mountainous area. It was on this foundation that the distinction between local and Hakka and a distinctive local culture emerged. Thus, the local culture that persists to the present, and that is typically described as Hakka culture, is in fact the product of the integration of these mountainous areas into the national polity since the Song. Social turmoil was an expression of the complexities of power in local society that resulted. This process of formation of Hakka culture in Yingqian is probably to some degree also generalizable to the peripheral mountain regions of Fujian, Guangdong and Jiangxi.

Journal of History and Anthropology