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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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Ethnography and Morality

(p.225) Conclusion
Drink Water, but Remember the Source

Ellen Oxfeld

University of California Press

The very critique of a society or regime as lacking in ethics or a moral code is in itself the implicit acknowledgment that the critic still holds on to one. That this critical activity is engaged in by ordinary citizens, as well as by published social critics, should be evident from the example of Moonshadow Pond residents. The denizens of this village do have expectations about the obligations in morality of their fellows—as family, lineage members, team and small-group members, and even as citizens—and their daily discourse and gossip articulate these expectations. Moral discourse at the village level is usually about choices within a person's reach rather than about those that are beyond a person's grasp. Keeping this in mind, a few questions remain regarding status and morality, social duties versus moral duties.

Keywords:   society, ethics, moral code, critics, Moonshadow Pond, village, obligations, morality, status, duties

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