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The Golden Wing

A sociological study of the Chinese family system


Lin Yaohua

Translation of

Lucie Modde and Zhenduo Chen

Series : Asia(s)

Subject : Humanities and social sciences

Keyword(s) : China , Wedding

20 €

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First published in English in 1947, this novelized work by Chinese anthropologist Lin Yaohua (1910-2000) left its mark on a whole generation of sinologists and researchers. Not only is it one of the few texts written by a native about rural China before the arrival of the Communist Party in 1949, but it also uses an original medium - fiction - to depict the most fundamental social structure in China: its "family system". We discover that the Chinese notion of "family - clan/lineage", very different from the "nuclear" Western family, goes beyond the patrilineal group and relies heavily on women. The story, centered on the relationship between two brothers-in-law - one married to the other's sister - offers an illuminating example of this primordial pair that has been at the heart of much anthropological work.

This book, available for the first time in French, thus provides a striking picture of the depth and breadth of Chinese kinship ties, leading us to question our disenchanted modern world, where the family has shrunk to nothing.

Translator and preface

Translator from English and Chinese, Lucie Modde has translated some twenty works of science and fiction into French.

Chen Zhenduo, PhD in sociology from EHESS and teacher-researcher in sociology in China, is a translator of classic works in the human and social sciences.

Catherine Capdeville-Zeng is Professor of Anthropology of China at Inalco and a member of the IFRAE research team.

Map of the region

To help French readers locate the places discussed in the book, a map depicting them can be downloaded from the following link:

242 pages
16 x 24 cm
Publication: 10/05/2023
ISBN: 9782858314201