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Qazaqs in the People's Republic of China: the local processes of history
Indiana University, IN, USA.
1994 (English)Book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study argues for the importance of understanding cultural factors when analyzing the historical actions of minority groups within states.  History among the Qazaq nomads in northwestern China is the result of complex interactions among culture, ecology, and personal action, but historians working in this area have explained Qazaq historical choices with simple models, and have often depicted the Qazaqs as devious, unpredictable, or backwards.  Applying research on Qazaq political and social culture to the interpretation of a variety of Chinese, Qazaq and Western accounts of the modern history of the Qazaqs in the Xinjiang Region of China, this study analyzes the motivations behind Qazaq participation in several important political events during the twentieth century.   The complex dynamics of Qazaq actions during their relationship with the Chinese government in Xinjiang are shown to arise from the Qazaqs’ convictions about ecological and social order.  These include the belief that group membership and organized action cannot be imposed on Qazaqs, and that the family or individual must be allowed to make their own decisions about how to use their animal and pasture resources.  In addition, the practical effects of these Qazaq ideas differ according to differences in individual and regional conditions.  Past Chinese government policies are shown to have arisen from prejudices and a limited understanding of how Qazaq cultural principles enabled Qazaqs to live in the ecologically-marginal regions that they inhabit.  The study concludes with an examination of some recent policies that facilitate more productive relations between Qazaqs and the Chinese state.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bloomington, IN, USA: Indiana Center on Global Change and World Peace , 1994. , 59 p.
, MacArthur Scholar Series, Occasional Paper, 22
National Category
Research subject
Cultural Anthropology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-201654OAI: diva2:628332
Available from: 2013-06-13 Created: 2013-06-13 Last updated: 2013-06-20Bibliographically approved

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