The Mountains and Beyond
This chapter introduces the first of two main field sites in the present study, the Taiwanese coastal city of Taidong (and environs), invoking local (as well as outsiders') narratives that identify salient attributes of the landscape and local social history with communal experience and collective character. It focuses in particular on descriptions of remoteness, marginality, wildness, and violence featured in the informants' narratives of place, community, and self; on the ways in which social performance and ritual practice are shaped by and play out the ambivalences and limitations but also what informants perceive to be the positive aspects of the objective geophysical, economic, and social conditions (including the vexed asymmetrical relations between the Han Chinese and aborigine communities).
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