Emigration and The Chinese Lineage: The Mans in Hong Kong and London by James L. Lee Watson

Emigration and The Chinese Lineage: The Mans in Hong Kong and London by James L. [Lee] Watson soon to be presented for sale on the outstanding BookLovers of Bath web site!

Published: Berkeley, Los Angeles & London: University of California Press, 1975, Hardback in dust wrapper.

Contains: Black & white photographs; Maps; Tables; Glossary;

From the cover: This is a study of emigration and social change in Chinese peasant society. The main focus is the village of San Tin, the largest emigrant community in the New Territories of Hong Kong. The people of this village are completely dependent on remittances from relatives who work in Chinese restaurants in England and Holland.

Mr. Watson outlines the historical and ecological factors that led to San Tins conversion from an agricultural village to an emigrant community in the late 1950s. Since that time, San Tin has become a center of relative affluence and leisure. The new income has had the paradoxical effect of reinforcing traditional patterns of social organization, many of which are disappear-ing in other parts of rural Hong Kong. Emigration has not been an agent of modernizing change as might have been expected.

Like so many other villages in South China, San Tin is inhabited by only one lineage: all of the males trace descent from a common ancestor and share the surname Man. The Man lineage still dominates the social activity of the community. The restaurant workers, in fact, have found the lineage to be very useful as the framework for an elaborate system of chain migration that extends halfway around the world. The survival of the Man lineage in such unusual circumstances led the author to re-examine earlier theories regarding lineage development in China, with some unusual results.

After completing his field research in San Tin, Mr. Watson conducted a follow-up study of San Tin emigrants working in London. The Mans own and operate nearly one hundred restaurants in England, and are expanding their holdings in Continental Europe. A few of the younger emigrants may remain abroad, but the majority plan to return home as soon as they have made their fortunes; meanwhile they retain close ties to the people in San Tin and contribute generously to the public works sponsored by the lineage elders.

Although the book concerns a community in rural Hong Kong, it should interest a broad spectrum of readers. The migration patterns characteristics of San Tin resemble those found in emigrant communities all over the world. Moreover, Mr. Watson relates his study to the larger concerns of contemporary anthropology, with particular reference to modernization and rapid social change.

Very Good in Good Dust Wrapper. Unlaminated dust wrapper a little edgeworn and faded with slight fraying to the somewhat faded spine. Edges of the text block lightly spotted. Small stamp to the first blank. Text complete, clean and tight otherwise.

Green boards with Gilt titling to the Spine. [XIII] 242 pages. Index. Bibliography. 9¼” x 6¼”.

Of course, if you don’t like this one, may I lure you to view a further assortment that features in my Sociology catalogue?


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