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Title: Stranger-Kingship and Cosmocracy; or, Sahlins in Southwest China
Authors: Yongjia, L. 
Keywords: Cosmocracy
Southwest China
Issue Date: Jun-2011
Citation: Yongjia, L. (2011-06). Stranger-Kingship and Cosmocracy; or, Sahlins in Southwest China. Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology 12 (3) : 236-254. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Major works of the ninth to seventeenth centuries have described the kingship of the Nanzhao and Dali kingdoms (652-1254) of Southwest China. I argue that these narratives may be understood in terms of the modes of identifying and assimilating the cosmological alterity proposed by Marshall Sahlins: 'Stranger-kingship', which depicted the king as a stranger; and 'cosmocracy', which depicted him as a universal ruler- a 'cosmocrator'. While a stranger-king was to some extent an extra-social, guest associated with the wild and untamed, and also partly an affine of the autochthonous people, a cosmocrator was a supra-social, moral host, and envisaged more as a consanguine of the subject people. These two pre-modern ideas of sovereignty are constituent parts of Sahlins's 'elementary forms of the politics of life', so that one cannot be reduced to the other. © 2011 The Australian National University.
Source Title: Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology
ISSN: 14442213
DOI: 10.1080/14442213.2010.544325
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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