Accepted Paper:

Network of ritual: relationship between human and non-human among Hani of southeastern China  


Tomohisa Abe (Tokyo Metropolitan University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper considers the construction of social relationship which ritual practices create among Hani village in China. Their "Yoqliq" (custom) is a key concept, as they construct stable relationship between actors, including human and non-human, through the practical schema which their Yoqliq provides.

Paper long abstract:

This paper considers construction of social relationship which ritual practices create among Hani village in Yunnan, China. Their everyday life actually is fully filled with numerous rituals; To feed their ancestors, deal with evil spirits living in forest, soothe powerful tree, revitalize village spring, extinct insects which ravage terraced rice fields, call back human or paddy soul and so on. It is very essential for villagers to participate such ritual and feast continually to keep his/her social relationship active. As every ritual requires suitable time and space, participants, implements and sacrifice animals, it seems to create emergent networks including various actors such as hosts and guests, patrikin and affines, ancestors, spirits, tree, spring, insects, souls, ritual knives and animals. In this paper, I will argue the networks on which non-human also naturally participate, illustrating their "Yoqliq" concept that effectively contribute toward its reproduction. Yoqliq is a comprehensive concept that implicates traditions, customs, rules or way, often accompanied with ethnic group, region, village name. The villagers seem to construct stable relationship between various actors including non-human through the practical schema which Yoqliq provides, but on the other hand, they sufficiently recognize there is many different kind of Yoqliq as Pyulniu (Han Chinese or China as nation state) Yoqliq, Haq'aol (Yi) Yoqliq or another village's Yoqliq and there can be different distributions of actors. We may understand they are living in one of the possible plural worlds and their style of "perspectivism".

Panel P139
Querying the human/non-human divide and the ontological status of anthropology