chapter  four
17 Pages

In Search of Anthropology in China

A Discipline Caught in a Web of Nation Building, Socialist Capitalism, and Globalization
WithJosephine Smart

The history of anthropology in China is known outside of China. This chapter explores the discipline’s transformations in the context of tensions and alliances between China’s nation-building agenda, as embodied in ideological rhetoric and praxis; socialist capitalism, which arose from the post-1978 economic reform; and globalization, in the form of networks and exchanges with persons and institutions outside China. Anthropology in Taiwan and Hong Kong developed along paths quite different from that of anthropology in the People's Republic of China, for historical reasons. The Guomindang established a parallel government in Taiwan in 1949 when the Chinese Communist Party took over China. China’s increasing integration into the global economy is bound to strengthen and amplify the exchange of ideas between Chinese anthropologists/ethnologists and their counterparts around the world. The integration of anthropological knowledge generated in China within the wider global system of knowledge calls attention to the dominance of English as a universal language of communication among scholars and business people.