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Burning MoneyThe Material Spirit of the Chinese Lifeworld$
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C. Fred Blake

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835323

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835323.001.0001

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(p.9) Chapter 1 Chiasm
Burning Money

C. Fred Blake

University of Hawai'i Press

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.

Keywords:   paper money, Chinese custom, paper-money burning, material culture, lifeworld, social relations, social formation, paper-burning custom

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