chapter  29
9 Pages

Biosocial body of ethno-religious boundaries in a Tibetan marriage

WithDan Smyer Yü

In Northwest China, ethnic identity is frequently expressed through religious identity. Scholars often regard this region as China’s ethnic fault line, a term signifying the fractured, disjointed communities of Tibetans, Han Chinese, Hui, and other ethnic groups. Through the ethnographic case of a troubled Tibetan marriage, this chapter makes a twofold argument: this apparent ethnic fault zone is not a region split into multiple ethnic groups; instead religious and ethnic differences are entangled in the body of the concerned individuals moving beyond the geographic bounds of their ethnic communities. Simultaneously, the intra-religious boundaries between purity and defilement play an intrinsic role in the economic success of one ethnic group and the social exclusion of others.