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Mobile Boundaries and Solidified Rights: Settlement History and Resource Control in Yakou, Zhongshan

Special Issue
Jianmin HUANG (Memorial Hall of the Former Residence of Sun Yat-sen)
Zhiwei LIU (Sun Yat-sen University)

This paper is a study of thevillage of Yakou, located in the wetlands of the Pearl River in Zhongshan, Guangdong. Yakou is comprised of eight so-called "natural villages" in a hierarchical arrangement; in the current administrative structure it is an "administrative village". In the past mechanisms of land control had also led to its integration as a highly cohesive community. This community was formed out of groups with different identities linked to different memories of settlement history. These groups used their historical narratives of settlement as the basis for claims of authority over the land control community, in order to exclude other groups from entering the community and in their struggles over rights with villages in the surrounding area. This paper uses the history of Yakou to explore how changing community boundaries interact with the stabilization of resource rights in order to form the complex structure of traditional communities, and how this structure is expressed at different levels of spatiality.

Journal of History and Anthropology