Food, Community and Ritual in the Pearl River Delta – Revisiting the ‘Common Pot’

25 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2017

See all articles by Man Guo

Man Guo

Harbin Institute of Technology

Carsten Herrmann-Pillath

Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies

Date Written: November 5, 2017

Abstract

Thirty years ago, the eminent sinologist James Watson published a paper on ‘common pot’ dining in the New Territories of Hong Kong, a banquet ritual that differs fundamentally from established social norms in Chinese society. We explore the recent career of the ‘common pot’ in neighbouring Shenzhen, where it became an important symbol manifesting the strength and public role of local lineages in the rapidly growing mega-city. We show how the practice relates to their role as landholding groups, organized in ‘Cooperative Shareholding Companies’ that show many similarities with traditional lineage estates. Meanwhile, the ‘common pot’ is also diffusing as a commercial high-end New Year dish globally, signifying the alignment between traditional conceptions of kinship and modernist conceptions of national identity.

Keywords: Common Pot (Pencai), Shenzhen, Chinese Lineages, Kinship Ritual, Community Egalitarianism, Cooperative Shareholding Companies, Tourism

JEL Classification: Z13

Suggested Citation

Guo, Man and Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten, Food, Community and Ritual in the Pearl River Delta – Revisiting the ‘Common Pot’ (November 5, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3065762 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3065762

Man Guo

Harbin Institute of Technology ( email )

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

Carsten Herrmann-Pillath (Contact Author)

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

Nordhäuserstr. 74
Erfurt, 90228
Germany

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