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Products for grant FA-56424-12

Shrines to Living Officials and Political Participation in Ming China, 1368-1644
Sarah Schneewind, University of California, San Diego

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Beyond Flattery: Legitimating Political Participation in a Ming Living Shrine (Article)
Title: Beyond Flattery: Legitimating Political Participation in a Ming Living Shrine
Author: Sarah Schneewind
Abstract: Ming (1368-1644) subjects of all classes, theoretically without a voice in the selection of bureaucratic personnel and setting of government policy in their hometowns, exploited the dynamic tensions within the orthodox Mandate of Heaven ideology to claim a legitimate political voice through one ubiquitous yet understudied local institution, the pre-mortem shrine. Meant to express gratitude to good magistrates and prefects moving on to other positions, the shrines were suspect as flattering an official in hopes of return favors. To forestall accusations of such corrupt gentry networking, steles for living shrines included or invented the voices of local commoners. Whether this meant that commoners living under the reality of autocracy and class oppression could actually affect personnel and policy or not, erecting such steles as permanent features in the landscape did legitimate commoner’s political participation within the same discourse that justified imperial rule and the dominance of educated men.
Year: 2013
Primary URL: DOI:
Access Model: JSTOR
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Journal of Asian Studies
Publisher: Cambridge UP: Journal of Asian Studies 72.2 (May 2013): 345-366