The Violence of Liberation


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This wide-ranging, keenly observed study provides a groundbreaking account of the highly contested process through which the Tibetan Buddhist region of Labrang became incorporated into the People's Republic of China. Drawing from thirteen years of archival research and fieldwork in and around the famous Geluk sect Tibetan Buddhist monastery, Charlene Makley situates the process of incorporation in the violent upheavals of Maoist socialist transformation that took place from 1950 through the 1970s and in the transition to globalization via Deng Xiaoping's capitalist market reforms of the 1980s and 1990s. Synthesizing social theory drawn from anthropology, political economy, gender studies, and linguistic anthropology, she finds that incorporation had quite different effects for Tibetan men and women, creating painful dilemmas across generations. Her study provides a sensitive and controversial examination of many different Tibetan voices and opens a new perspective on Sino-Tibetan relations in this important frontier region.

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