Minorities in the Force-field of Ethnic and State Nationalism

Sárközi Ildikó Gyöngyvér (2018): A mártírium homályából. Sibe ősök és hősök a kínai nemzetépítés oltárán. [From the Mists of Martyrdom. Sibe Ancestors and Heroes on the Altar of Chinese Nationbuilding] Budapest: MTA BTK Néprajztudományi Intézet – PTE BTK Néprajz–Kulturális Antropológia Tanszék – L’Harmattan Kiadó.

The book of Gyongyver Ildiko Sarkozi is about the Sibe people, one of the ethnic groups officially recognized by the People’s Republic of China. Since 1764 the two groups of Sibe live in two far away parts of China, where they have been subject to various challenges and they needed to adjust to different circumstances: two differing ethnic groups naming themselves by the same denomination, but not having any more relations than their name. However, lately making use of the possibilities of the identity politics of the Chinese government they have become a united ethic group in the last decades due to the impacts of the local elite’s endeavours in the politics of memory. This extremely interesting anthropology book, based on the author’s stationary fieldwork, follows the formation and development of this ‘imagined community’, the pursuits and possibilities of the participating players, building upon the instrumentalist approach to ethnicity.

Released: Replika 110, 163–168.