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Disgraceful MattersThe Politics of Chastity in Eighteenth-Century China$
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Janet Theiss

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520240339

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520240339.001.0001

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Enforcing Gender Order: Between the Ancestral Hall and the Yamen

Enforcing Gender Order: Between the Ancestral Hall and the Yamen

(p.64) (p.65) Chapter 3 Enforcing Gender Order: Between the Ancestral Hall and the Yamen
Disgraceful Matters

Janet M. Theiss

University of California Press

Family and community authorities were supposed to be catalysts for moral transformation. They were expected to share the state's normative priorities, to serve as effective mediators between state and society, and to transmit and enforce the values associated with state orthodoxy. However, nagging concerns about the weakness or corruption of local magistrates, local elites, and community elders haunted their proposals and reports, and they were especially ambivalent about the effectiveness and commitment of lineage leaders to the imperial state's agenda. While the state was profoundly ambivalent about the proper normative and judicial role of lineage leaders, criminal cases reveal that their authority was regularly challenged by their own relatives as well, suggesting the limitations on their ability to be effective arbiters of morality in local communities.

Keywords:   family authorities, moral transformation, state orthodoxy, morality, lineage leaders

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