Sara L. Friedman. Intimate Politics: Marriage, Market, and State Power in Southeast China. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006. xvi, 344 pp. Softcover $49.95, Isbn 0674021282. Intimate Politics is an ethnography originated from the author's PhD dissertation. Based on fieldworks spanning from 1994 to 2002 on the coastal village of Shanlin (pseudonym) in the Hui'an county of Fujian province, Friedman's book examines various aspects of local women's intimate relationships with their own labor, their families (both natal and conjugal), and their friends (of same-sex networks--locally known as dui pnua), and their bodies, dress, and modes of consumption within the context of the Chinese socialist state from the Maoist era to market reforms. Although people of Hui'an insist they are Han Chinese and are officially recognized as such, women there practice certain customs that are not typical Han. Their exotic hair and sartorial style and the extended natal residence after marriage prompt some Chinese scholars and the general public to associate "Hui'an Woman" with ethnic minorities (shaoshu minzu). The image of ethnic exoticness was exploited by cadres and entrepreneurs in marketing regional differences by the 1990s. Although all ethnic groups are proclaimed to be equal by the state, the
China Review International – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Nov 28, 2008
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