Ritual and Property: Theorizing a Chinese Case

Man and the Economy, DOI 10.1515/me-2017-0004

25 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2017

See all articles by Carsten Herrmann-Pillath

Carsten Herrmann-Pillath

Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies

Man Guo

Harbin Institute of Technology

Date Written: February 5, 2017

Abstract

This paper introduces the concept of ‘ritual’ for analysing the interaction between informal and formal institutions, taking land property rights in South China as an empirical case. By ritual, we refer to public actions that involve artefacts and create common knowledge about behavioural patterns in a population. This theoretical notion of ritual (suggested by Michael Chwe) matches with indigenous Chinese notions (li zhi), both in terms of scholarly work and popular usages. Based on own fieldwork, we investigate into the representative case of an ‘urban village’ in Shenzhen where traditional lineage practices have shaped the institutional and physical transformation of this dynamic metropolis. We claim that the current management of land rights stays in continuity with the ‘ritual economy’ of traditional China.

Keywords: Ritual, informal institutions, Shenzhen, Chinese lineages, land property rights, shareholding cooperatives, popular religion

JEL Classification: K0, P3, Z1

Suggested Citation

Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten and Guo, Man, Ritual and Property: Theorizing a Chinese Case (February 5, 2017). Man and the Economy, DOI 10.1515/me-2017-0004, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2946857

Carsten Herrmann-Pillath (Contact Author)

Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies ( email )

Nordhäuserstr. 74
Erfurt, 90228
Germany

Man Guo

Harbin Institute of Technology ( email )

92 West Dazhi Street
Nan Gang District
Harbin, heilongjiang 150001
China

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