chapter  8
20 Pages


The loss of face is another concept frequently used to describe suicide in Mengzou. The concept of “face” is perhaps one of the biggest contributions that Chinese culture has made to international social science. In her now classic article “The Chinese Concepts of ‘Face’,” Hu Hsienchin distinguishes lian and mianzi and argues that lian is a moral sanction and mianzi is about prestige and reputation in society (Hu 1944). Erving Goffman develops a more general understanding of face and argues that face is the image of the sacred self (Goffman 1955). Hwang Kwang-Kuo relates it to the general mechanism in power games in Chinese societies (Hwang 1987).