Nowadays, discussions about irrigation management in Chinese history are still under the shadow of a binary "state-society" framework. This model, however, is insufficient to explain all the changes to water control in different times and places. In the case of Lyuhui in Huizhou, both the state's intervention and local powers exerted strong influences, but we cannot ignore the impact of commercial factors. Through a long historical period, many institutional changes were made to the management of the irrigation system. Still, ultimately, commercial elements (such as commercial capital, market towns, and the rice markets) played essential roles in this changing process. Thus, this essay seeks to transcend the binary " state-society " model and show how commercial elements became embedded within people's daily lives and became critical parts of the social order.
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Commercial Elements in Water Control: A Case Study of the Changing Procedures of Lyuhui's Water Management in Huizhou from the Southern Song to the Early Republic of China
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Journal of History and Anthropology