• NEGOTIATING MODERNITY IN THE MARGINS OF THE STATE: THE CULTURAL POLITICS OF REPRODUCTION IN SOUTHWEST CHINA

      White, Sydney Davant; Goode, Judith, 1939-; Jhala, Jayasinhji; Winegar, Jessica (Temple University. Libraries, 2014)
      This dissertation examines how globalized biomedical definitions of reproduction are being adopted by the Chinese state and interpreted at the local level in Yunnan. It provides an anthropological perspective on how to provide affordable health care for the mass population, a question that most nation states have to contend with in the current neoliberal economy. In the dissertation, I present a critical view of the state through a medical lens (Kleinman 1995) so as to reengage anthropological theory and social theory. The following chapters of the dissertation investigate how the local people articulate their understanding of medicine, science, the body, and ethnicity in relation with the state and in the everyday life of medical practice and consumption. In particular, this dissertation examines the relationship between different narratives of modernity and ethnicity as embodied in the transformation of the public health system in Weixi Lisu Autonomous County in Southwest China, the so-called "margin of the state" (Das and Poole 2004). As a historical ethnography, I contextualize the transformation of public health policy in this area within the nexus of shifting political and economic policies from 1) the Maoist period from 1958 to 1981, during which "cooperative medicine" backed by the commune provided basic health care for the peasants; 2) 1981 to 2006, the transitional period from the command economy to the post-Mao market economy, during which most rural peasants had been left out of post-decollectivization health care; and 3) 2007 until now, the period in which the New Cooperative Medicine has been implemented in rural China. By historicizing the transformation of public health policy in the ethnic minority area, this dissertation not only intends to illuminate how the changing public health policy has been embedded in the state's pursuit of modernity, development agenda, and nation-building strategy in the borderland, it also attempts to portray how its multi-ethnic residents maneuver their ethnic minority identity within the changing historical periods by taking on, reconfiguring, or resisting public health policies in their daily life so as to achieve the maximum benefit of state policies and their citizenship status. In this way, this dissertation will shed light on how the ethnic minority residents articulate different narratives of modernity and how their articulation contests and reconfigures the contours and constitution of modernity.