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Drink Water, but Remember the SourceMoral Discourse in a Chinese Village$
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Ellen Oxfeld

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780520260948

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520260948.001.0001

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Moonshadow Pond

Moonshadow Pond

Moral Expectations and Daily Life

(p.3) Chapter 1 Moonshadow Pond
Drink Water, but Remember the Source

Ellen Oxfeld

University of California Press

The idea that there is never closure to any human relationship is a basic assumption for village residents in Moonshadow Pond and it sets the context for this chapter, an exploration of morality and culture in contemporary rural China. Contemporary accounts of China in the Western media often concentrate on rapid economic expansion, political corruption, human-rights violations, and environmental degradation. In scholarly literature, some authors raise questions about whether, in the wake of the demise of the collective order and the rise of global capitalism and consumerism, there is any moral code in China at all. The chapter sheds some light on how the residents of at least one small corner of rural China have spoken about moral obligations in relationship to the circumstances of their daily lives during a time of comprehensive cultural, social, political transformation, and expresses the connection between memory and morality in a commonly quoted maxim.

Keywords:   Moonshadow Pond, morality, culture, China, media, capitalism, consumerism, moral code, memory

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