Taming Tibet: Landscape Transformation And The Gift Of Chinese Development by Emily T. YehTaming Tibet: Landscape Transformation And The Gift Of Chinese Development by Emily T. Yeh

Taming Tibet: Landscape Transformation And The Gift Of Chinese Development

byEmily T. Yeh

Paperback | November 19, 2013

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The violent protests in Lhasa in 2008 against Chinese rule were met by disbelief and anger on the part of Chinese citizens and state authorities, perplexed by Tibetans' apparent ingratitude for the generous provision of development. In Taming Tibet, Emily T. Yeh examines how Chinese development projects in Tibet served to consolidate state space and power. Drawing on sixteen months of ethnographic fieldwork between 2000 and 2009, Yeh traces how the transformation of the material landscape of Tibet between the 1950s and the first decade of the twenty-first century has often been enacted through the labor of Tibetans themselves. Focusing on Lhasa, Yeh shows how attempts to foster and improve Tibetan livelihoods through the expansion of markets and the subsidized building of new houses, the control over movement and space, and the education of Tibetan desires for development have worked together at different times and how they are experienced in everyday life.

The master narrative of the PRC stresses generosity: the state and Han migrants selflessly provide development to the supposedly backward Tibetans, raising the living standards of the Han's "little brothers." Arguing that development is in this context a form of "indebtedness engineering," Yeh depicts development as a hegemonic project that simultaneously recruits Tibetans to participate in their own marginalization while entrapping them in gratitude to the Chinese state. The resulting transformations of the material landscape advance the project of state territorialization. Exploring the complexity of the Tibetan response to—and negotiations with—development, Taming Tibet focuses on three key aspects of China's modernization: agrarian change, Chinese migration, and urbanization. Yeh presents a wealth of ethnographic data and suggests fresh approaches that illuminate the Tibet Question.

Emily T. Yeh is Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Title:Taming Tibet: Landscape Transformation And The Gift Of Chinese DevelopmentFormat:PaperbackDimensions:344 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.27 inPublished:November 19, 2013Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801478324

ISBN - 13:9780801478321

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Table of Contents

Note on Transliterations and Place Names
Abbreviations and Terms
A Celebration
1. State Space: Power, Fear, and the State of Exception
Hearing and Forgetting
Part I. Soil
The Aftermath of 2008 (I)
2. Cultivating Control: Nature, Gender, and Memories of Labor in State Incorporation
Part II. Plastic
Lhasa Humor
3. Vectors of Development: Migrants and the Making of "Little Sichuan"
Signs of Lhasa
4. The Micropolitics of Marginalization
Science and Technology Transfer Day
5. Indolence and the Cultural Politics of Development
Part III. Concrete
Michael Jackson as Lhasa
6. “Build a Civilized City”: Making Lhasa Urban
The Aftermath of 2008 (II)
7. Engineering Indebtedness and Image: Comfortable Housing and the New Socialist Countryside
Afterword: Fire

Editorial Reviews

"Emily T. Yeh's Taming Tibet is one of the best analyses of the contemporary socioeconomics and politics of development of Tibet. The book is based on powerful ethnographic details and strong theoretical analysis and situates the current sociopolitical milieu within the context of the larger issues of the state’s goal of 'development’ and local subjectivity in transforming the Tibetan landscape. Yeh shows that the issue is not a simple dichotomy between state action and local resistance. The ‘gift of development’ produces an asymmetrical relationship between donor and recipient: the Chinese state’s desire to make an imprint on the territory while at the same time creating ‘internal others’ and ‘objects of suspicion.’ Taming Tibet should be required reading for anyone interested in understanding contemporary Tibet and China’s relations with periphery regions."—Tsering Wangdu Shakya, Canada Research Chair in Religion and Contemporary Society in Asia, University of British Columbia, author of The Dragon in the Land of Snows