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Population and Society in Contemporary Tibet

Population and Society in Contemporary Tibet

Rong MA
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 408
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  • Book Info
    Population and Society in Contemporary Tibet
    Book Description:

    This extensive survey documents Tibetan society over five decades, including population structure in rural and urban areas, marriage and migration patterns, the maintenance of language and traditional culture, economic transitions relating to income and consumption habits, educational development, and the growth of civil society and social organizations. In addition to household surveys completed over twenty years, the book provides a systematic analysis of all available social and census data released by the Chinese government, and a thorough review of Western and Chinese literature on the topic. It is the first book on Tibetan society published in English by a mainland China scholar, and covers several sensitive issues in Tibetan studies, including population changes, Han migration into Tibetan areas, intermarriage patterns, and ethnic relations.

    eISBN: 978-988-8053-76-6
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. vii-xii)
  4. List of Figures
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Foreword
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    Melvyn Goldstein

    As China began to open its doors to the West in the early 1980s, the United States and China began a formal bilateral program of academic and educational exchange. Professor Rong Ma and I were among the early beneficiaries of this new opportunity. I was able to start anthropological field research in Tibet (the Tibet Autonomous Region of China) and Rong Ma was able to begin M.A. and Ph.D. studies in Sociology and Population at Brown University. Dr. Ma completed his Ph.D. and returned to Beijing in 1987, joining the faculty at Peking University. Since then, Professor Ma has become...

  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  7. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    Tibet has become a symbol of heaven on Earth in the Western imagination, the Shangri-La in clouds at the top of the Himalayas. Steeped in the mysterious religion of Tibetan Buddhism, it is a land of peace, harmony and compassion with no concern for money or material things. This is the image of Tibet in the West (Klieger, 2006: 215), where industrialization and modernization have led to political stability, economic prosperity, technical advantage and social welfare, but have also caused severe competition, work pressure, social stratification, income disparity and racial and ethnic tensions, as well as high rates of divorce...

  8. 2 The Geographic Distribution and Changes in the Tibetan Population of China
    (pp. 17-40)

    For a long time the size of the Tibetan population has been a mystery because of limited data sources and the unreliability of records. I’ve tried to put together information gleaned from data on the Tibetan population throughout history published in books and articles at different times. This chapter is a review of the relevant literature, especially literature in Chinese before the 1950s.

    Owing to the lack of population records in Tibet, even as late as 1953 and 1964 censuses conducted by the People’s Republic of China were derived either from reports by local authorities or indirect surveys. The 1982...

  9. 3 The Han Population in the Tibetan-inhabited Areas
    (pp. 41-70)

    There are many unresolved issues surrounding the question of the Han population in the Tibetan areas. How many Han people were there in the Tibetan-inhabited areas of China in the past and how many are there today? When did they move there? What role has the government played in these migrations? What has been their impact on the local social, economic and cultural changes in Tibet? Conflicting answers to these questions have given rise to considerable debate.

    When the Tibetans in exile claimed, repeatedly, that about “7.5 million Chinese migrated into Tibet, occupied the home and land of native Tibetans...

  10. 4 Analysis of the Population Structure in the Tibetan Autonomous Region
    (pp. 71-96)

    The Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) is unique among regions in the TIA when it comes to population analysis because of the availability of accurate data. Similar data for other Tibetan-inhabited areas are not recorded separately from provincewide data, or are provided only for administrative units, making analysis for these regions difficult.

    The TAR is situated in southwestern China and covers an area of 1.2 million square kilometers. Recent studies, including China’s Population: Tibet Volume (Liu Rui, 1988), Changes in Tibetan Population (Zhang Tianlu, 1989), Tibetan Population in Contemporary China (Sun Jingxin, ed. 1992) and Tibetan Population and Society in China...

  11. 5 Migration in the Tibetan Autonomous Region
    (pp. 97-136)

    Migration is a major research field in population studies. When people change their residence from one place to another, their movements may be aimed at crossing a certain geographic boundary (e.g. from a mountain to a plain), crossing an economic boundary (e.g. from an agricultural area to a pasture), crossing an administrative boundary (e.g. from one province or nation to another), or changing their residence from one type of community (city, village) to another. The mobility may be the result of many converging factors at both the places of origin and destination, and may result in important changes in their...

  12. 6 Economic Patterns and Transitions in the Tibetan Autonomous Region
    (pp. 137-190)

    In the past several decades, studies about Tibet have attracted substantial attention. In general, they have concentrated primarily on history, religion and traditional culture, as well as on Han settlement, ethnic relations and human rights (Pye, 1975; Dreyer, 1976; Grunfeld, 1987; Goldstein, 1989a). Tibet’s economic situation has received only limited attention, however (Fischer, 2005; Sautman and Dreyer, 2006). The literature on ethnicity shows that conflicts between groups with different economic interests (in term of access to natural resources, trade balance, wealth and power distribution) often generate ethnic conflicts (Glazer and Moynihan, 1975: 8; Smith, 1991: 20). In some cases, religious...

  13. 7 Income and Consumption of Rural and Urban Residents in the Tibetan Autonomous Region
    (pp. 191-240)

    Income and consumption are among the most important indicators of people’s economic lives. Four points are usually taken into account in the study of income and consumption. First, they should be studied together because the level of income affects — even determines — the patterns of consumption. Second, they need to be examined at both the micro and macro levels. Individual and family income (level, stability and sources) and consumption (structure, content and patterns of consumption) provide a basis for understanding a society. In addition, general income and consumption patterns (average level, stratification, and structures of income and consumption) of a nation,...

  14. 8 Tibetan Spouse Selection and Marriage
    (pp. 241-272)

    Family is the basic unit of human society and families are formed through a variety of marriage patterns. By studying marriage patterns and family formation we can discern the fundamental models and networks of human organization as well as social stratification and mobility within a society. The norms and values of societies and communities also can be determined in an indirect way through examining patterns of spousal selection. This is why marriage and family studies are so important to the field of sociology.

    After a brief review of the relevant literature on Tibetan marriages, this chapter will concentrate on an...

  15. 9 Educational Development in the Tibet Autonomous Region
    (pp. 273-326)

    Development of all human societies has been closely related to the development of knowledge, including what we nowadays classify as the humanities, social sciences, sciences and technology. Knowledge is conveyed to the populace and passed on to future generations through various forms of education. Accordingly, education is a key indicator of the social development of any society. But education is also a product of social, economic and cultural development. Several new industrialized countries and regions in East Asia have, since the 1960s, developed very rapidly in such areas as their economies, trade and management, and one of the most common...

  16. 10 Residential Patterns and the Social Contacts between Han and Tibetan Residents in Urban Lhasa
    (pp. 327-356)

    One of the key goals of our surveys in the TAR and other Tibetan areas since 1988 has been to evaluate the current state of Han-Tibetan relations and to analyze the factors influencing that relationship. Since the first street demonstration in Lhasa in 1987, Han-Tibetan relations have been of considerable concern in China. Since then, official Chinese documents and reports have tended to emphasize the financial assistance of the central government and other provinces of China in social and economic developments in Tibet. Overseas media tend to emphasize issues related to religious suppression, violation of human rights, ethnic conflicts in...

  17. Notes
    (pp. 357-368)
  18. References
    (pp. 369-384)
  19. Glossary of Terms
    (pp. 385-386)
  20. Index
    (pp. 387-390)