Guanxi or Li shang wanglai

 Guanxi or Li shang wanglai ? --- Reciprocity, Social Support Networks, & Social Creativity in a Chinese Village
by Xiangqun Chang
Scholarly Publishing Business, Airiti Press Inc. June 2010
ISBN 9789866286186

Abstract

Using a variety of methods learnt from her sociological and social anthropological training both in China and the West, and based on long term, in-depth fieldwork in a Chinese village on the topics of 'reciprocity, social support and creativity', the author has reached her concept of 'lishang-wanglai' by combining related Chinese notions of guanxi, mianzi (face), renqing, especially li shang wanglai, Fei Xiaotong's chaxugeju (social egoism), and accommodating notions of 'capital', social, cultural, human, symbolic and so on, as a part of the resources.

This concept consists of generous, expressive, instrumental and negative forms of reciprocity (wanglai), governed by criteria of moral judgment, human feeling, rational calculation and spiritual belief (lishang), and combines a static model and dynamic networks with an integration of social support networks.

The author then proposes that the driving force of the lishang-wanglai model is social creativity. This book showcases how an in-depth and comprehensive study of 'relationships' or 'relatedness', the core of Chinese social and cultural contexts, can increase our general understanding of human society. At the same time, it offers a theoretical paradigm for establishing a 'Sociology of China' and a 'Social Anthropology of China' from the perspective of Chinese scholars.

Although the concept of "lishang-wanglai" is forged from studies of rural Chinese society, this book will help scholars from sociology, anthropology, political science, social policy, administrative science, management science, international relations, development studies, China studies, as well as researchers for governmental and non-governmental policy-oriented studies, cultural or business consultants, and people inside and outside China who seek a better understanding of the nature and rules of change in Chinese society.

Book reviews and review articles

Recommendations from scholars (alphabetical order)

Western scholars

"This book brings all of this work of the particularistic alongside the universal, the socially loaded gift alongside impersonal exchange together as never before, more comprehensively and grounded in the most thorough ethnography. Taking up the classical schema of reciprocal and impersonal relations produced by Marshall Sahlins, Chang Xiangqun extends it and gives it life by showing how such a schema can work dynamically. This enjoyment and the dynamics of the making of interpersonal relationships are the two main contributions Chang Xiangqun has made to the ethnography of reciprocity"
   ---- selected from the Preface by Professor Stephan Feuchtwang, Department of Anthropology, London School of Economics and Political sciences (LSE), UK

"Based on extensive empirical research, Chang Xiangqun's book, Guanxi vs Li shang wanglai? - Reciprocity, Social Support Networks and Social Creativity in a Chinese village, provides an invaluable overview of social relationships in the Chinese countryside, and puts forward an ambitious theoretical framework for thinking about them. Both scholars and students will benefit greatly from it."
    ---- Professor Charles Stafford, Department of Anthropology, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

"Chang Xiangqun has provided a wonderful in depth analysis of rural central Chinese social relationships. Building upon the pioneering work of Fei Xiaotong, her study of Kaixiangong retains a strong historical feel as it probes matters of the human heart. Her investigation of Chinese emotional and ethical considerations provides a rich informed and vibrant chronicle ordinary village life. An excellent ethnographic account. This is how anthropology should be."
    ---- Professor William Jankowiak, Department of Anthropology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)

"This book is a major contribution to one of the most dynamic research literatures in Chinese sociology and anthropology. Building on the many-sided significance of a phrase (li shang wanglai) used both in scholarly and everyday discourse, Chang Xiangqun develops a sophisticated framework for the analysis of interpersonal relationships in village China, bringing together phenomena often discussed separately as face, reciprocity or guanxi. She uses this framework to interpret her thorough and sensitive ethnographic accounts of social life in the area studied from the 1930s by Fei Xiaotong, emphasising both continuities and changes over time. This book will be vital reading for all sociologists who aim to understand the complexities of social relationships in this rapidly changing society."
    ---- Dr Norman Stockman, Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of Aberdeen; Honorary Secretary of the British Association for Chinese Studies (BACS)

Chinese scholars

 "The great achievements in socio-economic development over the past three decades have attracted worldwide attention to China. Questions about China's development model are becoming a very popular topic with different social scientific disciplines in the age of globalization. Chang Xiangqun's book Guanxi vs Li shang wanglai? can be seen as a "virtual icon" in which the so-called "China model" is embedded. This book is an excellent outcome based on the author's transdisciplinary training in both China and the West, long term in-depth empirical studies on contemporary China. It is the first Chinese scholar's book, in nearly 100 years, to systematically challenge important Westernsocial anthropological and sociological theories on reciprocity and social exchange."
   --- Professor Deng Zhenglai, Dean of National Institute of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences, Fudan University; Editor of Chinese Social Science Quarterly (Chinese); Editor of Fudan Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences (English)

"Dr. Chang Xiangqun, in this in-depth monograph, revisits the village that the late Professor Fei Xiaotong studied 60 years ago in the Yangzi River Delta. Elaborating on Dr. Fei's pioneering work on graded interpersonal relationship, Dr. Chang further articulates the concept of lishang wanglai as the analytical instrument to understand agrarian stability in traditional Han Chinese society. This work enriches contemporary understand of rural China."
   ---- Huang, Shu-min, Distinguished Research Fellow & Director, Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica

"Though this is not the first book dealing with the establishment, reinforcement, and conditions of mutual benefit of interpersonal relations and its "guanxi networks" in ethnic Chinese societies, it is certainly the most ethnographic report on such social phenomenon in today's PRC society after reforms. It uses the everyday life phrase of "li shang wang lai" (reciprocity) to depict and to develop the prevalence and importance of personalized social relations in China. It both makes contributions on localisation of anthropological theory and brings local knowledge alive.

In particular the significance of its political and social perspective are to note the revival of the important caring role of "family" for its members, and the strategic role of "personalized relations" in maintaining ordinary people's quality of social life under the post-communist state, the socialist society without the "collective responsibilities". Li shang wang lai (reciprocity) is in fact a true portraiture of the 'key relationships'.

Although it is a serious anthropological study, this book reads with truth and liveliness, as though it were a work of reporting literature."
      ---- Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao, Professor and Director, Institute of Sociology, Academia Sinica

"I first came to know Dr Chang Xiangqun back in 1987. She was a lecturer of sociology in the Chinese People's Public Security University, one of the few sociologists with a master's degree in sociology since it was re-established in China in early 1980s. I was lecturing in sociology in the People's University of China, and enjoyed insightful communication with China Xiangqun at conferences in Beijing and national-wide, as well as through reading her papers from Sociological Studies and Sociology of the "Replicated Journals", by the Information Centre for Social Sciences of People's University of China.

Chang Xiangqun participated diligently in the National Social Science Funded project "Marxist Sociology Studies", conducted under the auspices of the Institute of Sociology Chinese Academy of Social Science (CASS). I was deeply impressed that she had thoroughly immersed herself in such so-called "boring" theoretical studies in Beijing, against the background of the excitement of the time when tremendous changes were happening in China brought about by the Opening-up policy since 1979.

In 1992, a year after she went to the UK to advance her studies in sociology, her monograph On Marxist sociology (460,000 words) was published. I received a copy of the book from the publisher, and gained a comprehensive understanding of her research. I therefore selected the work as a reference book for my course of theoretical sociology when I worked in People's University and Tsinghua University successively. As regards the book, I cannot agree more with some opinions, summarised below, stated in a book review:

[The book is not only the remarkable fruit of the author's efforts, but also represents the generational scholars' collective intelligence on Marxist sociology... accomplished the construction of the theoretical system of Marxist sociology; the author offers historical insights on the main issues of Marxist sociology against the background of the development of Western sociology or scholarship; the author also provides explanations with a sense of reality on major events of the international society discussing their relevant factors and backgrounds. The book places Marxist sociology in an open system while it introduces and analyzes nearly 100 scholars of Marxist sociology. It is proposed, for the first time, that studies of Marxist sociology in China play an indispensible role in establishing the forthcoming sociology of China with its theoretical paradigm. (Wang Tie, Social Science in China, 1995(2):195-6).]    

Although Xiangqun was not actively involved in Chinese sociology circles after she left China, her influences are still profound: her articles boasting domestic awards, her book has been selected in the China Year Book of Sociology (1989) which is the first of such covering 10 year's important work after sociology was re-established in China. During the past two decades, I kept in touch with Xiangqun and met with her on visits to the UK in 1995 and particularly 2007. When I visited LSE to negotiate about the cooperative establishment of the Confucius Institute, I met Chang Xiangqun before leaving London. She was just back from her fieldwork village and talked to me for hours with great enthusiasms about her work on Li shang wanglai (reciprocity).

I realised that she had found what she had been seeking so unwaveringly. The "lishang-wanglai model" sets an example as an important theoretical paradigm for the sociology of China. It can be used as a key to understand and interpret Chinese society and the Chinese people. This book demonstrates Chang Xiangqun's indomitable will in searching for truth and her solid theoretical background. Based on in-depth empirical studies and nearly two decades of experiences living overseas Chang Xiangqun presents us with another high quality book which can go down in history like her Marxist Sociology (in Chinese, 1992). The publication of Guanxi or Li shang wanglai? in both Chinese and English versions, during the period of deepening reform of the Chinese cultural system, marks the transition of "Made in China" from material to cultural, specifically as regards forthcoming developments in social science."
             --- Professor Li Qiang, Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Science, Tsinghua University; Vice President of Chinese Sociological Association (CSA), China

"I have known Chang Xiangqun, a scholar of the greatest determination, since the early 1990s when I was in London. Xiangqun, whose masterpiece of Marxist sociology had exerted a far-reaching influence, initially was a visiting fellow, then a research assistant and researcher doing her PhD and carrying out various research projects in City University and later at the LSE.   

Xiangqun's research interests focus on contemporary China studies, especially relationship systems, to which she devoted more than a decade. During the past years, she worked on social support systems in rural China, under Professor Stephan Feuchtwang's supervision, and co-authored the statistical report of the project.

She possesses not only splendid research experience, but also astonishing patience that enables her to be immersed in researches. She visited Kaixiangong village (the classical fieldwork site of Professor Fei Xiaotong) many times and conducted similar work outside China (e.g. UK) to form a comparative study.

Previously, Professors Mayfair Yang, Yunxiang Yan and others had made intensive studies of Chinese systems of relationship. Compared with these the book Li shang wanglai stands out with undeniable advantages and novelty. This book holding anthropological reciprocal theory as its breakthrough point, restudies the social life of a classical fieldwork site. The subtitle of the book includes the key words of reciprocity, social support and social creativity. I believe there are very few works linking anthropological classic theories of reciprocity with new theories of social support and social creativity. Xiangqun's work pioneered in this area. In particular, the concept of social creativity is very refreshing. Among many noteworthy qualities of this book there are three that stand out especially.
    (1) I would like to stress that based on in-depth empirical re-studying of previous studies and rethinking of reciprocity this excellent work has the characteristic of "critically inheriting" previous studies.
    (2) The author demonstrates the approach to her subject of significant social scientific research by constant questioning both fieldwork methods and theories. This book is an inspiration to Chinese scholars and exercises a valuable influence on the international social science domain.
    (3) Chinese social science "going abroad" needs both ideological resources and global views. Using traditional native Chinese concepts combined with theoretical resources from general knowledge, the author's approach on "guanxi" goes beyond studies of relationships in two dimensions, and provides a significant attempt at exploring this topic in a historical perspective with a dynamic approach."
        --- Professor Wang Mingming, Peking University; Distinguished Professor of the Central University for Nationalities; Editor of Chinese Review of Anthropology

Preface

"Interpersonal relationships have been the hallmark of Chinese sociology ever since 1940, when Fei Xiaotong proposed a distinction between the Western individual, defined by equal membership whether of a group or many groups, like a straw in a bundle, and the Chinese individual, defined as the centre of a widening circle of reciprocal and hierarchical relationships, like the ripples made by a stone thrown into a pond. A large number of scholars, Chinese and non-Chinese, philosophers and historians, as well as sociologists and anthropologists, have since that time examined and elaborated a number of key Chinese terms, central to the moral philosophy and character of Chinese social relationships.

At the same time, grand theorists of social evolution, in particular Talcott Parsons with his theory of evolution from particularistic to universalistic social structures, and Marcel Mauss with his theory of total social presentation giving way to socially embedded but impersonal money-mediated exchange, have been questioned and modified. Their evolutionary dichotomies have been turned into simultaneous dichotomies, the particularistic alongside the universal, the socially loaded gift alongside impersonal exchange.

This book brings all of this work together as never before, more comprehensively and grounded in the most thorough ethnography. I want to say something about each of these achievements, the bringing together of previous discussions and theories and the grounding of them in ethnography.

Li shang wanglai is a phrase that combines practice and principle. It is what others have discussed as Confucianism. But it is the summation of what is practiced in daily life and without the leadership of an elite intelligentsia. With this phrase Chang Xiangqun has brought together what had been separately discussed: the social philosophy of bao (asymmetrical reciprocity), the central importance of mianzi and lian (face), the moral economy of renqing (human relationships of fellow-feeling), the art of making guanxiwang (social networks), and much else. She shows how they work together in what might be called a discursive constellation. Using sociological and anthropological theorisations of reciprocal relations in China and Japan, she creates a framework of four dimensions, namely, principled calculation, rational, human-feeling, moral, and religious, and four kinds of relationships, namely, instrumental, expressive, negative and generous.

This looks at first like a typology. But it is much more, because she shows how one kind of relationship can turn into another and how more than one type of principle can be in use at the same time in the same relationship. Indeed, taking up the classical schema of reciprocal and impersonal relations produced by Marshall Sahlins, Chang Xiangqun extends it and gives it life by showing how such a schema can work dynamically, as process rather than as map, as the way social distance and familiarity are created rather than acting as a fixed and determining structure.

This brings me to the ethnographic grounding of the schema. What brings it to life, and what shows how it is a dynamic process, are the ways people conduct their relationships. Chang Xiangqun has produced the most detailed ethnography of the same village and area where Fei Xiaotong did his fieldwork for his doctorate in 1936. From her initial fieldwork in 1996 until the present day, she has made and maintained contact with the village residents. From this intense and continuous relationship with them, she can show how they are their own intelligentsia, how they think about and enjoy the making, changing and unmaking of interpersonal relationships. At the same time, she shows not just what are the customary, learned rules of what to bring as a gift to whom on different occasions, but also how villagers adapt and change customary rules to deal with new situations and a changing economy. They enjoy the making of distinctions, which accord with those of the framework she has used to present them. They enjoy the creativity demanded of them in changing situations. This enjoyment and the dynamics of the making of interpersonal relationships are the two main contributions Chang Xiangqun has made to the ethnography of reciprocity.

I want to make one further recommendation of this book to its reader. The ethnography is about village life in contemporary China, a very dynamic and changing social setting. Chang Xiangqun embraces the facts of change, in particular the changing local political economy. During the years of her fieldwork, the village and township government has been changed a number of times and she describes how these changes can be understood in terms of the personalisation and moralisation of the relationships between villagers and their government.

This is a micro-history of a village in what has become a very prosperous part of China and one which has its own peculiar culture, with, for instance, a greater stress on little sisterhoods and brotherhoods than in other parts of China. Nevertheless, this study illuminates, as a case study, what must be happening though with quite different customary practices and in different economic conditions, in other regions of China. The rapid development of Chinese market economics has not diminished the importance in China of interpersonal relationships; while the extension of the moral economy of interpersonal relationships to relationships with government is not only worked out locally, but everywhere."

Professor Stephan Feuchtwang
Department of Anthropology
London School of Economics and Political sciences
26/02/2008

Contents

Preface                                                 Stephan Feuchtwang
Introduction
I. The ESRC project on social support
II. The villagers' usage of li shang wanglai
III. Research methods and research scope
IV. Researcher's multifaceted position
V. Arrangement of fieldwork materials and structure of the book

PART ONE VILLAGE PORTRAITURE

Chapter I Economic, administrative and informal systems
I.I. Economic development and villagers' standard of living
I.II. Changes of administrative system
I.III. Kinship system
I.IV. Religious practices
I.V. Relationships between villagers and the state

Chapter II Local customs (I)
II.I. Birth and growing up
II.II. Establishing the marriage relationship
II.III. House construction events

Chapter III Local customs (II)
III.I. Family division and elderly care
III.II. Funeral ceremony and post-funeral rituals
III.III. Annual cycle events
III.IV. Emergency events

PART TWO THE PRACTICE OF "LISHANG-WANGLAI"

Chapter IV Generous wanglai
IV.I. A case study of horizontal and vertical wanglai
IV.II. Horizontal wanglai in annual life cycle events
IV.III. Vertical wanglai in villagers' festivals and religious life

Chapter V Expressive wanglai in life cycle events (I)
V.I. Birth and growing up
V.II. Establishing a marriage relationship
V.III. House construction

Chapter VI Expressive wanglai in life cycle events (II)
VI.I. Family division
VI.II. Elderly care
VI.III. Funeral ceremony and postfuneral rituals

Chapter VII Expressive wanglai in annual cycle and emergency events
VII.I. Annual cycle events
VII.II. Emergency: Natural and man-made disasters
VII.III. Emergency: Illness and injury

Chapter VIII Instrumental and negative wanglai
VIII.I. Instrumental wanglai: top down and bottom up
VIII.II. Negative wanglai: vertical and horizontal wanglai

PART THREE "LISHANG-WANGLAI " MODEL

Chapter IX Theoretical approaches and exploration of "lishang-wanglai"
IX.I. Sahlin's reciprocity and Polanyi's redistribution
IX.II. Social support networks and "lishang-wanglai" networks
IX.III. Social creativity as motivation behind "lishang-wanglai"

Chapter X Review of related Chinese notions
X.I. Mianzi (mien-tzu)
X.II. Chaxugeju
X.III. Yuan and fu
X.IV. Bao (pao)
X.V. Huhui
X.VI. Guanxi (kuan-hsi)
X.VII. Renqing (jen-ch'ing) and ganqing (kan-ch'ing)
X.VIII. Yang and laiwang

Chapter XI Construction of the "Lishang-wanglai" model
XI.I. Li shang wanglai and "lishang-wanglai"
XI.II. Justification of lishang
XI.III. Lishang criteria
XI.IV. Clarification of wanglai
XI.V. Wanglai typology
XI.VI. Methodological implications of "Lishang-wanglai"

Chapter XII Tests and applications of the "lishang-wanglai" model
XII.I. Gaining access and getting to know informants
XII.II. "Lishang-wanglai"and social creativity
XII.III. A case study of "lishang-wanglai" beyond the village

Conclusion
I. "Lishang-wanglai" and issues of state and gender
II. "Lishang-wanglai" unified principle and typology of reciprocity
III. "Lishang-wanglai" combines a static model and dynamic networks
IV. "Lishang-wanglai"'s motivation is social creativity
V. Can "lishang-wanglai" be a general analytic concept?

Appendix
I. List of conversion for currency and measures
II. List of place names
III. Character list

 

《关系抑或礼尚往来?》(简体字版)

《关系抑或礼尚往来?江村互惠、社会支持网和社会创造的研究》
[英] 常向群 著,毛明华译
辽宁人民出版社2009年12月出版, 2010年4月印刷 
  ISBN 9787205067076

内容提要

作者通过长期的中西方社会学和社会人类学的训练、采用了多种方法,在长期、深入和多频次的对江村的田野作业基础上,以'互惠、社会支持和社会创造'为主题词,结合中国的关系、面子、人情,民间的'礼尚往来'的用法和费孝通的'差序格局'概念, 吸纳了社会、文化、符号等'资本'作为'礼尚往来'的资源,打造了一个'礼尚-往来'(lishang-wanglai concept)的概念工具。它涵盖赠与性、表达性、工具性和否定性等往来的形式以及道德判断、人类感情、理性算计和信仰因素等交往原则,整合了静态模型和动态网络。作者还提出了社会创造是'礼尚-往来'的深层动力的观点。本书是把中国社会文化的核心问题----'关系'的深度的、全方位的研究成果融入人类社会科学的知识大厦的一个尝试。同时,也为建立'中国社会学'和'中国人类学'提供了一个理论范式。虽然'礼尚-往来'概念产生于对中国农村社会的研究,但本书有助于社会学、人类学、政治学、行政学、管理学、社会政策、国际关系、发展理论、中国研究等学科的学者,以及政府和非政府的政策研究、顾问咨询和海内外各界人士深入了解和理解中国社会各种现象和关系的变化及其规则。

书评及评论文章

推荐序: 英美学者

     作为前所未有的内涵丰富并极为详尽的民族志,本书将"特殊性与普遍性并存、社会性赠送则与非人格化交换相随"的现象呈现给读者。本书基于前所未有的内涵丰富并极为详尽的民族志,将"特殊性与普遍性并存、社会性赠送则与非人格化交换相随"的现象呈现给读者。作者首次将"报"、 "面子"、 "人情"、 "关系"等看似松散的主题词用"往来"的类型和"礼尚"的原则糅合在一起并展示其运作的机制。在吸收马歇尔•萨林斯关于互惠和非人格关系经典分析框架基础上,作者拓展出了这一框架并展示其运作的动态性并赋予了其活力,并揭示了人与人之间关系的可创造的动态性以及受享这种创造性的乐趣,以及人与人之间的关系的道德经济向个人与政府的之间的关系的延伸的普遍存在 
                      ----- 王斯福教授(Stephan Feuchwang),英国伦敦经济学院人类学系, 前全英中国研究协会(BACS)主席、(摘自为本书所作的《序》)

      基于广泛详尽的经验研究,常向群的《关系抑或礼尚往来:江村的互惠、社会支持网和社会创造的研究》一书展示了极为宝贵的关于中国农村的社会关系的全貌,并提出了思考这些问题的宏大的理论框架。无论是学者和学生们都将会大受其益。
                    ----石瑞教授(Charles Stafford), 英国伦敦经济学院人类学系

    常向群提供了一个极好的关于中国农村的核心社会关系问题的深度分析。建立在费孝通开创的研究的基础上,她的江村研究在探查人类心脏的问题时保持了强烈的历史感。在调研中通过对中国情感和道德因素的特别关注,作者提供了一幅信息量丰富的和具有创意的普通农民生活的巨幅画卷。这份优秀的民族志,正是人类学所应该做的。
                  ----William Jankowiak教授 ,美国内华达大学拉斯维加斯分校(UNLV)人类学系

本书是对中国社会学和人类学的最具动态性研究文献中的一项重要贡献。基于学术界和日常生活中多义且重要的"礼尚往来"一词,常向群从中国农村的研究中提炼出了一个精密的、囊括了通常分别讨论的诸如面子、互惠或关系等现象的、分析人与人之间关系的框架。应用这个框架,她诠释了在费孝通研究过的地方、自1930年代以来的透彻和敏感的社会生活的民族志,既强调其连续性也表现其变化性。它将是对试图理解这个瞬息万变的社会和复杂的社会关系的所有的社会学者的重要的必读书。
                   ----Norman Stockman 博士 英国阿伯丁大学社会学系高级讲师、全英中国研究协会(BACS)总秘书长

推荐序: 华人学者

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     常向群博士這部深度的民族誌專書,重訪已故費孝通教授六十年前所研究的一個江南農村。沿續費教授的重要的『差序格局』的概念分析漢民族的人際關係,常博士提炼 了『禮尚—往來』的概念作為一個分析工具,來理解中國漢人傳統農村社會的穩定性。本書豐富對當代中國農村的認識。
                 ---- 黃樹民教授,中央研究院民族學研究所特聘研究員兼所長

     雖然討論華人社會的人際網絡關係的建立、強化、互惠和條件,這不是第一本書,但卻是調查當代中國農村社會日常生活中各種人際關係運作活生生現象的一份最詳細的人類學田野報告,頗有新意。它也是以一個常民(未必只限農民)生活用語「禮尚往來」做為貫穿本書論述的分析概念,有人類學理論在地化和將地方知識活化的貢獻。
     尤其有政治社會意義的是農民在人民公社和集體生產組織後,家庭重拾家人生活照顧之重任,「個人關係」更有著在沒有「集體」的社會主義社會之中,維持普通人的社會生活品質和趨吉避凶的保障之戰略性作用。「禮尚往來」(reciprocity)其實就是這種「關鍵關係」真相的寫照。
     全書讀來真實、生動,雖是嚴肅的人類學田野民族誌,但也不失為一份有可讀性的報導文學作品。
            ---- 蕭新煌教授,中央研究院社會學研究所研究員兼所長

     中国改革开放三十年在社会经济发展方面取得的巨大成就举世瞩目。在全球化背景下探讨中国发展的模式问题已经成为当下社会科学诸多学科所共同关注的热点。常向群的著作《礼尚往来》可以说是体现所谓"中国模式"的一个"虚拟标识"。这部优秀的著作是作者经过中西方跨学科的学术训练、基于当代中国的、长期的和深度的经验研究的成果, 也是近百年来第一部华人学者全面系统地挑战西方社会人类学的社会交换和互惠等重要理论的力作。
             ---- 邓正来教授,复旦大学社会科学高等研究院院长;《中国社会科学辑刊》主编;《复旦人文社会科学论丛》(英文版)主编

    我认识常向群博士可以追溯到1987年,当时她在中国人民公安大学教社会学,是中国社会学80年代初重建以来为数不多的社会学专业的硕士。我当时在中国人民大学教社会学,我们在北京和全国的社会学会议上都有过交流。在《社会学研究》和人大的"复印报刊资料"的《社会学》卷上也常看到她发表的文章。当时常向群在参与一项由中国社会科学院社会学所主持的"中国社会科学基金项目"-- 马克思主义社会学的研究。在改革开放的多变的和令人兴奋的年代、在充满生机与活力的北京,常向群能够做得住冷板凳的精神,给我留下了深刻的印象。后来,她于1991年到英国深造去了,1992年她的46万字的专著《马克思主义社会学论稿》出版了,她委托出版社给我寄了一本。看了她的著作后,我对她的研究内容有了全面的了解,并且将此书列为我的社会学理论课程的教学参考书,从人民大学一直到清华大学。后来我在1995年的《中国社会科学》上看了到对此书的书评,至今还保留着它。我非常同意书评中的一些观点:
     [该书不仅凝聚着作者个人的心血,也汇集了我国几代有志于马克思主义社会学研究者的智慧,…… 完成了对马克思主义社会学理论体系的建构;作者在论述马克思主义社会学的所有问题时,都将它们放在西方社会学发展史或西方学术发展史的背景下给予富有历史感的说明;还将其与国际社会重大事件及其相关因素和背景结合起来赋予其现实生活的解释;作者介绍和分析了近百位与马克思主义社会学相关的流派的学者,置马克思主义社会学于一个开放的系统;并首次提出了中国的马克思主义社会学的研究对生成未来"中国社会学"理论范型之举足轻重的作用。]
    虽然常向群离开了中国社会学界,但她对中国社会学的影响并没有消失:她发表的论文在国内评过奖,她出版的书也列入《中国社会学年鉴》(虽然叫做"年鉴",但这是中国社会学重建十年来的第一本重要研究成果的集锦)。二十多年来我与常向群一直都有联系,我于1995年和2007年访问过英国,其间都与她有过交流,对她的研究有一些了解。尤其在2007年初,我到伦敦经济学院商谈与该院合作建设孔子学院的事情,离开伦敦的那一天,常向群刚从江村调研回到英国,她兴致勃勃地花了几个小时向我全面介绍了她这十几年来研究的成果----礼尚往来。
      我立即意识到这就是她一直期待并建构的"中国社会学"的一个理论范型, 是理解和解读中国社会和中国人的一把钥匙。此书展示了她对科研的认真和执著的精神以及理论背景及其功力。经过十几年海内外风风雨雨的田野工作的洗练,常向群推出了一部可以载入史册的巨著。自改革开放三十年国门打开以来,在深化文化体制改革的今天,常向群的《礼尚往来》在中国的出版,标志着我们的"中国制造"从物质到文化,其是社会科学产品"走出去"时代的到来。     
                 ---- 李强教授,清华大学人文社会科学院院长,中国社会学会副会长

    常向群博士是我认识的中青年学者中为学最执着者之一。我1990年代初期在伦敦认识她。后来得知她所著的关于马克思主义社会学的大作,早已有相当广泛的影响。向群到英国后,先担任访问学者,接着担任课题研究助理,后来攻读博士,同时分别在城市大学和伦敦经济学院等机构从事科研工作。
    向群的研究旨趣,主要在当代中国问题,尤其是当代中国的关系制度。她在这方面耗费的十几年时间,曾经协助Stephan Feuchtwang教授组织关于中国乡村互助制度的研究课题,且合作主编该课题的总报告。
    向群不仅有丰富的课题研究经验,而且,长期耐心地沉浸于自己的科研工作中。她多次重访费孝通先生的经典田野地点江村,也对中国以外的地区(如英国)展开同一主题的研究。
    此前,关于中国社会中的关系,杨美惠、阎云翔等教授,已做过集中的研究。相比既有成果,向群的《礼尚往来》有许多优点和新意。她的著作《礼尚往来》以人类学交换和互惠理论为切入点,重新考察了一个经典田野地点的社会生活。 该书的副题中含有互惠、社会支持网与社会创造等概念,我认为,将经典人类学互惠理论与社会支持网、社会创造等新概念联系起来思考的学者依旧不多,而向群可谓是此一方面领域的开拓者之一。尤其是她的"社会创造"概念,足以给人耳目一新的感受。

     《礼尚往来》的优点必定很多,其中,至少包括以下几点:
      1)值得强调的是,该书基于对经典田野地点的再研究,对互惠等经典论题进行重新思考,构成具有"反思的继承"色彩的优秀研究;
      2)该书基于长期的实地研究与理论追问,展现了作者的研究风范,这一风范,对于国内学者会有重要启发,对于中国社会科学的国际影响而言,则也有它的重要价值,至少,它足以展示新一代中国社会科学研究者的良好学风;
      3)中国社会科学要走向世界,要有自己的观念基础,也要有世界视野,该书在运用传统中国的本土概念的同时吸收了国外学术理论资源,在超越"关系"的平面论述的研究上,将其置于社会过程中做动态的研究并从历史的观念体系中寻找解释资源方面做了有意义的尝试。
              ---- 王铭铭,北京大学人类学教授、中央民族大学特聘教授、《中国人类学评论》创刊主编

:台湾学者黄树民和萧新煌的推荐语转引自台湾版; 中正文简体字版出版时,从李强和王铭铭两位教授的推荐信中摘出重点推荐语,台湾的繁体字版发表了其推荐信全文,特补充于此
 

序言

^|

1940年代以来人与人之间的关系(即广义的人际关系,作者注)的研究一直是中国社会学的主要特点。费孝通曾对东西方人与人之间的关系的不同做过这样的比喻: 西方的个体是从属于不同群体的单个人(像被捆在一把柴里的一根柴即团体格局,译者注),而中国的每一个个体则是一个扩散的互惠性的有等级关系的多级圈里的中心点(像一个石头扔入池塘里推出的波纹即差序格局,译者注)。此后,大量的学者,有中国人和外国人、哲学家和历史学家,还有社会学家和人类学家等,都在不断地考证研究并精心阐述以道德哲学和中国社会关系及其特点为核心的主题词。

与此同时,关于社会变迁的重要理论家,尤其是塔尔科特•帕森斯和马塞尔•莫斯等人的观点受到质疑和修正。如帕森斯的社会结构的演变是从特殊性关系走向普遍性关系的理论,莫斯的社会变迁是从总体礼俗性社会让位于非人格化的以金钱为媒介的交换性社会的理论。他们这种关于变迁的两分法如今已经变成了同时并存的二元论,比如,特殊性将与普遍性并存,社会性赠送则与非人格化交换相随。

本书基于前所未有的内涵丰富并极为详尽的民族志将上述二者并存的现象呈现给读者。我想以民族志为基础结合先前的研究及相关理论逐项介绍作者的主要贡献。

"礼尚往来"是一个综合了实践和原则的短语。这在以前被其他人作为儒学范畴来讨论,但同时它也是没有精英分子领导的人们日常生活实践的经验总结。常向群用"礼尚-往来"概念把以往是单项讨论的几个主题词糅合在一起,比如关于"报"的社会哲学(非对称互惠)、"面子"和"脸面"的核心重要性、"人情"的道德经济(作为人类亲情关系),以及构建"关系网"的艺术(社会网络),等等。她展示出这些看似松散的主题是怎样结合在一起并如何运作的。作者运用社会学和人类学的互惠关系的理论对中国和日本的研究创造出了一个理论分析框架,包括理性、感情、道德和宗教的四个维性原则,以及工具性、表达性、否定性和馈赠性四种关系类型。这初看起来像是类型学,但它绝非仅此而已。因为作者向我们揭示一种关系如何转化成另一种关系,以及多项原则如何在同一关系中同时被使用。事实上,在吸收马歇尔•萨林斯关于互惠和非人格关系经典分析框架基础上,常向群拓展出了这一框架并展示其运作的动态性并赋予了其活力,表明它应该是一个过程而非一张地图,社会距离和亲密性是一种可以被创造出来的方式而非是一个固定和预设的结构。

这项研究把我引向民族志的基础分析。是什么赋予了它活力?又是什么使它呈现出一个动态过程?答案就是人们处理他们之间的关系的方式。常向群写出了一部关于一个村的最详实的民族志,同样是在这个村,费孝通曾在1936年为写他的博士论文做过田野调查。从1996年作者开始最初的田野工作到现在,她一直和村民们保持着联系。通过与村民们密切而连续的联系,作者表明村民怎样成为他们自己的知识分子,以及他们如何思考并乐于创造、改变和终止人与人之间不同的关系。与此同时,作者不仅展现了风俗的内容、人们如何习得在不同场合送不同的礼的规距,而且还揭示出村民们如何调整、改变风俗习惯以适应新的形势和不断变化的经济。村民们享受这些分门别类的创造,它们与本书作者用她的分析框架对他们所作的描述相符。村民们享受这种由不断变化的形势並且所迫使他们不断地从事创造性的活动。这种对创造性的享受和人与人之间关系的可创造的动态性是常向群对互惠理论民族志所做的两个主要贡献。

这本民族志是研究当代中国农村生活中的一个非常具有动态性和不断变化的社会设置(social setting)。常向群立足于变化的事实,尤其是不断变化的地方政治经济。在作者开展田野工作的那些年里,村级行政和镇级政府变更过好几次,她对村民如何个人化和道德化与政府之间的关系的描述有助于对这些变化的理解。这是一部既系非常繁荣中国的一部分又有自己独特的文化的一个村庄的微观史。如,它有比中国其它地方更注重诸如"小兄弟、小姐妹"亲情的习俗。尽管这是一项个案研究,但它揭示了这样一个事实:虽然在中国其它地区经济条件不同、风俗习惯各异,但人们知道应该怎么做;人与人关系的重要性并没有随着商品经济在中国的迅速发展而减弱,人与人之间关系的道德经济向个人与政府之间关系的延伸不仅在局部地区可见,而且无处不在。

伦敦经济学院人类学系 王斯福教授
2008年2月26日

目录

^|

 

序言                                                                               英国伦敦经济学院 王斯福教授

前言
一、关于ESRC社会支持的项目
二、礼尚往来的民间用法
三、研究方法和范围
四、研究者的多边立场
五、写作方法及本书的结构

第一部分 江村概述

第一章 经济、行政、及其非正式系统
第一节 经济发展与村民的生活水平
第二节 行政系统沿革
第三节 亲属系统
第四节 宗教系统
第五节 村民与村集体和国家的关系

第二章 地方习俗(I)
第一节 出生成长期
第二节 婚姻缔结期
第三节 建房习俗

第三章 地方习俗 (II)
第一节 分家与养老
第二节 丧事与后事
第三节 年度周期习俗
第四节 紧急突发事件

第二部分 '礼尚-往来'的实践

第四章 馈赠性往来
第一节 横向和纵向往来的家庭案例
第二节 年度生命周期事件中的横向往来
第三节 村民节日和宗教生活中的纵向往来

第五章 表达性往来:生命周期 (I)
第一节 诞生期与成长期
第二节 婚姻关系缔结期
第三节 造房

第六章 表达性往来:生命周期 (II)
第一节 分家
第二节 养老
第三节 丧事与后事

第七章 表达性往来:年度周期和紧急事件
第一节 年度周期事件
第二节 紧急事件: 天灾人祸
第三节 紧急事件: 疾病伤残

第八章 工具性性和否定性往来
第一节 工具性往来: 自上而下与自下而上
第二节 否定性往来: 纵向与横向往来

第三部分 "礼尚-往来"模型建构与应用

第九章 理论的推进与'礼尚-往来'模型的探讨
第一节 萨林斯的互惠论与波兰尼的再分配
第二节 社会支持网与'礼尚-往来网'
第三节 社会创造与'礼尚-往来'的动力

第十章 中国的相关概念评述
第一节 面子和脸
第二节 差序格局
第三节 缘和福
第四节 报
第五节 互惠
第六节 关系
第七节 人情和感情
第八节 养和来往

第十一章'礼尚-往来'模型
第一节 礼尚往来和'礼尚-往来"
第二节 '礼尚'辨析
第三节 '礼尚'准则
第四节 '往来'澄清
第五节 '往来'类型
第六节'礼尚-往来'模型及其方法论意义

第十二章 '礼尚-往来'模型的检验及其应用
第一节 进入田野实地与了解作业对象
第二节 '礼尚-往来'与社会创造
第三节 江村以外的一个案例研究

结语
一、'礼尚-往来'与国家和性别等议题
二、'礼尚-往来'整合了互惠的原则和类型
三、'礼尚-往来'是静态模型和动态网络的统一
四、'礼尚-往来'的动力是社会创造性
五、'礼尚-往来'能否成为一般概念分析工具?

参考书目

后记

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