This chapter examines and explains various aspects of the custom of burning paper money by focusing on the social formation of a material culture itself: the galaxy of papers with its own emergent characteristics. Using a multisited ethnographic methodology, it analyzes the phenomenon of the burning papers in geographic and historical space-time as well as the lifeworld in which paper-burning practices are experienced and interpreted by different kinds of people. It also considers how the paper money custom is embedded in the matter-of-fact world of many Chinese and looks at previous studies of this custom. It shows that the paper-burning custom is contiguous in space and time and juxtaposes with other symbolic systems of the ongoing system of social relations.
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