王斯福(Stephan Feuchtwang):《文明的概念和中国的文明》

王斯福(Stephan Feuchtwang):《文明的概念和中国的文明》




  The three circles that Wang Mingming has suggested can be considered as circles of Chinese civilisation and the world system in which it is a major centre. An anthropological concept of civilisation can be a useful way of seeing this, and further circles around the centres of Chinese civilisation. All civilisations are hierarchical and evaluative. But the concept of civilisation itself is not. It exists simply for the history and comparison of civilisations as historical human types. This lecture will show how such a concept of civilisation can be developed and how in can be applied to Chinese civilisation.

  王铭铭建议的三圈可视为把中华文明作为世界体系的一个主要中心。人类学的文明概念可以用于研究这个以及围绕中华文明中心的更多的圈。所有文明都是有等级的和可评价的。但是,文明的概念本身并不是。它的存在只是为历史和作为历史的人类的不同形态的文明的比较。这个演讲将展示这样一个文明的概念 --- 是如何发展出来的以及它将如何应用于对中华文明的研究。


  Anyone studying China with any social science must sooner or later be engaged with the fact that he has also to be a historian. And after that, whether he accepts it or not, he is challenged by the length of continuities as well as the great transformations that have occurred in something called ‘Chinese civilisation’. I am rising to this challenge, late in my career as an anthropologist.

  任何人用任何社会科学来研究中国或早或迟得面对一个事实,即他也得是一个历史学家。此后,不管他接受与否,在长期的连续性的和巨大的转变的中国历史发展过程中他将受到一个叫做 ‘中国文明’的挑战。在我的人类学家的晚期生涯里我提出了这个挑战。

  My co-researcher Wang Mingming has presented to you his conception of the three rings of anthropological studies in China: the inner ring is that of local studies in the core, or of the majority ethnicity, what Fei Xiaotong called the soil of rural China; the second is that of studies of non-Han peoples in China; and the third is studies by Chinese outside China. This is a modern idea of three rings from the point of view of China’s civilisational centre. A far older Chinese version is that of an inner core (ring 1), the periphery of partially assimilated or ‘cooked’ barbarians (ring 2) and the outer states of ‘raw’ barbarians (ring 3) (see for instance the account of this as a Confucian civilising mission in Stevan Harrell 1995).

  我的合作者王铭铭已经跟你们介绍了他的关于中国人类学研究的“三圈说”概念,即中间圈,也就是核心圈,指的是地方性研究,或对人口最大的民族的研究,正如费孝通先生所称的乡土中国;第二圈则是对于中国非汉民族的研究;第三圈指的是中国学者对国外的研究。这是从中国的文明中心出发所得出的现代版本的 “三圈”说。更老的版本指的是核心圈(第一圈),边缘的被部分同化的或是“熟”的野蛮人(第二圈)以及最外圈的“生的”野蛮人(见Stevan Harrell 1995有关儒化运动的内容)。

  In Europe, the study of peoples in the world after the Enlightenment started with another division into three. In their universal histories philosophers and political economists divided the human world into three broad stages: savage, barbarian, and civilised. The twentieth-century version of these three was a division into primitive societies, ancient civilisations, and modern civilisation. (for excellent histories of this early history of anthropology see Stocking 1982 and 1987).


  Since the 1960s anthropologists everywhere have turned from the study of primitive societies and cultures to local, intensive studies everywhere, including their own, so-called ‘modern’ societies. The most important point for this lecture is that just as the word ‘culture’ is now applied to every society, including those formerly classified as primitive.


  Indeed it is possible to apply to all societies the word ‘civilisation’. I hope to make this clear later.


  Wang Mingming is presently fascinated by the mediating ring 2. I too am fascinated by it. I think this mediating ring in fact sets up two centres, a distant one and the local one, which knows itself to be remote from the distant centre. The innermost circle is of the local as its own centre but also refers to a region and to hierarchies of economic, political and civilisational power within China,as well as others outside China. An example is the kingdom of Nanzhao in the southwestern periphery, which was its own civilisational and trading centre but also mediated the civilisational and tributary centres of China, Tibet and India. Similarly every locality in ring 1 is in its own view a centre of civilisation, as well as referring to distant centres within China .


  This is my view as an outsider. Should we include non-Chinese anthropologists of China like me in these three rings? In principle it could be a Chinese or a non-Chinese in any one of the three. One major difference is that until the 1980s English-language anthropologists did not work with historians so that they could not adequately deal with the scope and temporal dimensions of Chinese civilisation, instead conducting local studies of Chinese or ethnic minorities in China. By contrast Chinese anthropologists have always attempted to generalise to the whole of China and to a long Chinese history – sometimes based simply on one local village study, and were rightly criticised by Edmund Leach for doing so. I want to make another point about anthropology.

  这是我作为外者的观点。我们应该把像我这样的外国人类学家包括在三圈里面吗?原则上中国人和外国人可能在三个圈的任何一个圈里。最大的差异在于,20世纪80年代以前,英语体系的人类学家都在进行中国的地方性研究和少数民族的研究,而都没有对历史学家的研究成果进行关注,以便充分的把握中国文明的范围和当时的维度。相反,中国的人类学家经常试图去概括整个中国和整个中国历史,有时候仅仅是基于一个当地的村庄研究,这正是Edmund Leach曾经批判过的。在此我想要说关于人类学的另一个问题。

  It is of utmost importance to understand that anthropology, above all other social sciences, is bound by the task of expounding and including in its analyses and interpretations the viewpoint of the people studied. It is the task of an anthropologist to modify anthropology’s own theories and assumptions by opening them out and testing them against the local understanding of itself. This is what I take Professor Fei Xiaotong to have meant when he said of his first fieldwork, in the second ring, that the most valuable insights he gathered were from the shocks of what he had not expected.


  Professor Fei and many of his Chinese contemporaries were, as so many Chinese anthropologists are now, well informed and influenced by non-Chinese anthropologists, either through their reading or because they had non-Chinese teachers. Similarly all non-Chinese anthropologists of China know at least the translated works of Chinese anthropologists. And all non-Han so-called minority-people anthropologists are well informed by both, even when they conduct research on their own people and localities. So it is possible for all of us to inhabit all of the circles. Every anthropologist, even a so-called native anthropologist should, as an anthropologist treat the subjects of her or his research as if from the outside, taking nothing for granted, bringing as much as possible into the open, including common sense, as if it were strange, but always respecting it as a way of understanding and living.


  But after all that, it is also true to say that coming as an outsider to a locality is different if you are close – in language, life experience, and continuous residence – than if you are distant – having to learn the language, residing somewhere quite else, and not having lived anywhere near there before. Similarly, if your reading is mainly in the other, distant languages and the anthropological studies and theories published in them then you are bound to translate back into those languages and theories, sensitively and critically, whereas the task of translation into a non-Chinese language may be desired but is less easy and immediate for Chinese anthropologists of China.


  I am, then, from the outer circle and I write in English. But through close cooperation and exchanges with Chinese anthropologists, such as Wang Mingming and Chang Xiangqun, I have been affected and influenced by my Chinese colleagues. In one way in particular that influence has brought me to the topic of my talk today: civilisation. Exposure to Chinese ways of understanding China has moved anthropologists of China like me toward history, but I have in addition been for several years now, through engaged discussions with WMM and his colleagues, inclined to take a very long-term and large-scale view of the historical anthropological of China. At the same time, as an anthropologist I have been working with an English friend and colleague Michael Rowlands, to review the old ethnological and anthropological concept of civilisation in order to carry out a project of promoting the comparison of civilisations. As an anthropologist and as an outsider I shall do this without endorsing what Chinese say is civilisation, which may of course have truth for China, but not necessarily elsewhere.

  我是来自外围的圈子,是用英语来写作的。但是通过与中国人类学家,尤其是与王铭铭和常向群,我已经感受到来自中国同事的影响。这些影响一定程度上导致了今天我讲演的题目:文明。中国式的理解中国的方法促使我这种研究中国的人类学家开始关注历史。我已经和王铭铭和他的同事,从长期的大规模的历史视角来探讨中国的人类学。同时,作为人类学家,我一直和我在英国的朋友和同事Michael Rowlands合作,回顾以前的民族志和人类学的文明的概念以便从事一项文明比较研究。作为人类学家和一个外来者,我将不会使用中国的文明的定义,这可能对中国是个真理,但是并非放之四海而皆准。

  Before standing back and introducing what I mean by a revived concept of civilisation, I want to make two points concerning local studies in the inner and mediating circles from the point of view of our revived concept of civilisation.


  1. What is the centre and what is the periphery is not fixed; similarly what is Chinese and what is non-Chinese, in terms of Chinese civilisation, is not fixed either. It has been well argued, by James Scott and others, that what are now classified as non-Han ethnic groups or nationalities have become differentiated by a combination of their own volition and Chinese imperial dominion, when viewed in a long-term historical perspective. Conversely, regions of what is now China have in the past been their own centres of civilisation, combining influences from a number of other civilisations, including Chinese but also those of, for instance, the Inner Asian pastoralist aristocracies from the Xiongnu onwards (David Sneath, The Headless State, 2007).

  1. 什么是中心,什么是边缘不是固定的。同样从中国文明角度看,什么是中国人,什么是非中国人,也没有固定的说法。James Scott 以及其他的学者已经充分辩论过了,认为从长期的历史角度看,现在的非汉少数民族的不同是由他们自己的意愿和中国帝国统治双重作用的结果。相反,现在的中国区域内已经包含了过去的几个文明的中心,而且糅合了诸多其他文明的影响,这些影响既来自中国的,但也来自其他地方的,如亚洲中部游牧贵族以及自匈奴以来的不同的文明(David Sneath, The Headless State, 2007)

  2. Regions of what is considered to be China,for instance, the nine regions, should be considered in the long term as centres that contributed to what became Chinese civilisation from the Bronze Age onwards. Further, claims to what is Chinese civilisation can be and are made from many centres, not just from whatever is the current political centre of authority. Each such claim is equally valid, even though it may not have the authorisation and acknowledgment of the political centre and even though it may not agree with or be consistent with other similar claims.


  The concept of civilisation has to be able to accommodate such changes. It must also be broad enough to include the fact that any one civilisation can be a disputed civilisation with many centres. It should not assume a fixed map of circles, inner, median and outer.


  Civilisation, as a verb noun was invented in eighteenth-century France, Scotland and England, since then it has been relativised. It is now used by anthropologists without the notoriously ethnocentric and imperial organisation of knowledge and privilege. But it still performs these ideological tasks in ordinary language locally and in global cultural relations.


  ‘Civilisation’ as a usage is always ideological, which is to say it is contentious. But that does not mean we, as anthropologists, should not use this word ‘civilisation’ and develop a concept of its usage. Its ideological usage is one matter of interest. Civilisation is also a description of habitual and transmitted aspirations for self-realisation during a life course or over several generations of self-cultivation and hierarchical mobility. Such aspirations are shared and also disputed with others professing to share the same or similarly formulated and identified standards of aspiration.

  Our concept is descriptive and not ideological, though it is about ideology. It does not endorse or validate the standards it describes in each case.



  So our use of the word ‘Civilisation’ describes: hierarchy, ideology, aspiration, all of which are at once continuous historically and at the same time transformed standards and hierarchies of aspiration; civilisations have histories. The concept of civilisation can be used critically, exposing the ideological usage that justifies continuation of privilege and denies the civilisational aspirations of others in the justified hierarchy.


  The concept of civilisation in anthropology: Marcel Mauss

  马塞尔·毛斯(Marcel Mauss)关于人类学中文明的概念

  In a little known article the great French master of anthropology, Marcel Mauss wrote on Civilisation – recently translated and published in English (2006) - he defined civilisation as consisting of ‘those social phenomena which are common to several societies’. He insisted that they are socially linked by adding that they must be ‘more or less related to each other’ by lasting contact ‘through some permanent intermediaries, or through relationships from common descent’ (p. 61), such that on the next page he further refines the concept and calls a civilisation a family of societies (p. 62). We can imagine what these permanent intermediaries are when we think of tributary or diplomatic or trading or marital relations.

  2006年,法国人类学大师马塞尔毛斯的一篇鲜为人知的论文被翻译成英文出版。在这篇关于文明的论述中,他定义文明由“多个社会中常见的社会现象”所组成;然而,他又坚称,它们之间存在一定的社会联系。他认为“他们肯定或多或少彼此联系,通过持续的相互接触,这些接触又是“通过永久的维系,或者共同祖先的关系”而实现的(第61页)。他在下一页进一步精确的定义文明为社会的集合体(a family of societies第62页) 。当我们想到朝贡、外交、贸易或婚姻关系的时候,就不难想象什么是永久的维系了。

  In the technical terms of Mauss’ sociology, a civilisation is the spread of collective representations and practices, which are the social aspect of the materials of civilisation. He says they are ‘arbitrary’, by which he means they are not universal but preferred modes of making and doing things. In the actual order of analysis, to say these things belong together as a civilisation is to infer from archaeological and historical evidence a common set of practices and meanings, not one dominant characteristic, design or thing, but the way they all hang together and to examine their evolution over time and space.


  Possibly the most interesting characteristic of the concept is one that Mauss would have considered to be a weakness. It is the loose integration of its elements, not a holistic integration. Even though it can be said of a civilisation that it is reproduced, just as social relations, or systems of meaning and material practices are reproduced, we need not feel compelled to put all these together into a single totality and its reproduction. Civilisation is like ‘culture’, but it emphasises the spread of culture. It is like ‘society’, but it is partial, forcing us to think and to infer how elements of a culture carry with them habits of relating to others, practices and ways of making things, but transformed with different additions from elsewhere, from other civilisations. ‘Civilisation’ is a grand, but not a totalising concept of social, cultural and material life. It forces us to analyse mixtures, the spreads of culture into each other and in combination with each other.

  在此概念中可能最有趣的一个特点是毛斯却认为是一个弱点, 即各种元素松散的整合,而非浑然一体。即便可以说文明可以再生产,就像社会关系,乃至于意义体系和物质实践的再生产一样,我们没必要硬把以上所有元素归结为一个单一整体及其再生产。文明就如同“文化”, 但它强调的是文化的传播;文明又如同“社会”,但只是社会的一部分。这促使我们去思考和推断一种文明的文化元素是如何承载与其他文明有关联的习惯、其他文明的实践及行事方式,同时吸收其他地方文明的文化元素而进行自我修正。“文明”的概念是博大的,并不是社会、文化和物质三方面的总体概念。它迫使我们去分析混合体,分析不同文化之间的相互传播和结合。

  Historical human types: Dumont and hierarchy


  Mike Rowlands and I want to expand this conception of Marcel Mauss. It is a concept that contains no ethnocentric evolutionary assumptions. We are attracted to the challenge with which civilisation faces us: accounting for long duration persistence while also saying and analysing how it has undergone major and irreversible transformations. Persistence and slow but radical transformation has been argued by at least two historical materialisms, Marxist and Braudelian. The merit of Braudel’s is that it includes ritual and the habits of everyday life as basic material, where Marx treats them as ideology. There are valid objections to Braudel’s dismissing political and military turbulence as superficial (his version of superstructure) as if there cannot be demographic and ecological turbulence and fast change. And we should, with Marx, enquire into the mutual effects of political and ecological or economic events.

  我和罗兰教授(Mike Rowlands)希望拓展马塞尔·毛斯的这一概念。这个概念将不包含任何关于种族中心与进化论的假设。我们为论证文明面临的挑战所深深吸引:叙述其为何能长盛不衰,同时也要说明并分析其经历的重大的和不可逆转的变化。关于文明持续、缓慢而基本的转变,至少两种历史唯物论——马克思主义和布劳岱尔——都对其进行过论证。布劳岱尔观点的优点在于他把仪式和日常生活习惯归为物质,而马克思认为它们是意识。布劳岱尔的一个观点遭到合理的否定,他将政治和军事动荡归为上层(他的版本的superficial),忽视了社会人口动荡、生态动荡以及社会动荡突变的存在。我们将跟随马克思,进一步探寻政治和生态或经济之间的相互影响。

  In any case, ideology has a very comprehensive scope, when used by another thinker, the French anthropologist, Louis Dumont. His idea of hierarchy has been very influential, and it is a vital stepping stone towards a new concept of civilisation.


  Louis Dumont described a pair of ideologies: those of homo aegalis or homo minor and homo hierarchicus or homo major. One is a hierarchy of endogamous status groups –castes - constituted by rules of propriety and a division of labour among castes, a hierarchy from the lowest to the highest, the most polluted to the purest, in which aspiration to rise in the hierarchy can be realised by caste, or sub-caste mobility, through domination converted into caste, or by acquiring higher caste accomplishment and changing or disguising one’s natal status. The other is a hierarchy of equality of opportunity in which there is individual and family mobility up and down, according to ideals of merit in learning and its accomplishment, of risk-taking and its just rewards and of work and its just fruits.

  首先,我来介绍路易斯·杜蒙描述的如下两种意识形态:平等人(homo minor)和阶序人(homo major)。一个是族内婚姻群体阶序——(印度的)种姓制度——各种姓间要遵循等级适当原则和劳动等级分工。该阶序从最底等级到最高等级,最污浊等级到最纯洁等级。在该阶序中,等级上升的愿望可以通过种姓或亚种姓的改变而实现。改变种姓或亚种姓的方法有通过正式的皈依进入种姓,或者取得较高种姓的成就,以及改变或隐瞒其天生的等级地位。另一个是机会平等阶序。在该阶序中存在着个人及家族的地位上升与下降。这些地位的变动通过以下几种理想的方式实现——学习成绩优秀并取得成就,不怕风险表现卓越得到回报,工作优秀得到回报。

  These are ideals, dominant ideals, and the reality of class relations is not a realisation of these ideals in either India for homo hierarchicus or Europe or the USA for homo aegalis. So, one problem shadowing Dumont’s account of these two ideologies is whether or rather how these ideologies are affected by or in turn affect the processes of political economy. Critically, it must be asked whether their non-realisation produces other ideologies, variants upon them or altogether different and opposed ones among the very same population among whom it can be said these hierarchies are persistent and dominant: such as revolutionary ideologies affecting the relation of rule. The relation between Brahmans and kings is particularly important in this respect (Fuller 1991), the pairing and separation of Brahmanic responsibility for the cosmos and sovereign responsibility for rule; their separation meant that was never a single Brahmanic empire, just kingdoms linked by the Brahmanic hierarchies of caste and ritual. Dumont’s account offers no way of saying how the hierarchy might be subject to transformation, and itself have been the result of structural/social transformation.

  这些是占支配地位的理想模式,而现实中的阶级关系并不能实现这些理想,无论是印度的阶序人或者欧美的平等人。因此,杜蒙关于这两种意识形态的描述有一个问题,那就是这些意识形态是否,或者更确切地说,是如何受到政治经济进程的影响并反作用的。有一点很重要,必须弄清楚的是,在同一社会人群中,其占支配地位的阶序被认为经久不衰,那么那些他们没能实现的理想模式是否进而产生了其它的意识形态,原有意识形态的变体或全然不同、截然相反的意识形态:比如革命意识形态。婆罗门和国王的关系在这方面尤其重要(Fuller 1991),婆罗门控制传播思想意识,君主统治国家以及掌控思想,两者结合并分离;职责的分立意味着独立的婆罗门帝国是不存在的,存在的是婆罗门传播的阶级种姓制度和仪式世代相传从而王国世代延续。杜蒙的解释没有说明这种阶序自身也可成为转型的主体,成为社会结构转型或社会变革的结果。

  In addition to this serious limitation, there is a more vexing comparative problem. Dumont has set up binary opposites: aegalis: hierarchicus, in which aegalis stands for modernity, now globally spread, and hierarchicus presents general characteristics, as well as Indian peculiarities of these generalities of pre-modern hierarchy. The word civilisation, instead of ideology, replaces this binary with the possibility of defining several such homo as long-persisting but historical human types, of which equal-opportunity-aegalis and the Indian-purity-and-pollution are just two. Indeed, Dumont himself refers to different civilisations, each having their own temporality (p. 242). Instead of proposing that one of them, the Brahmanic, is a pure type, as Dumont does, wouldn’t it be better to describe all civilisation as hierarchical and to specify each instance as an historical human type?


  Let me explain. We are including all human cultures in the broader and more linked-up concept of civilisation, as structures that are hierarchical. The hierarchy can be as shallow as age-grading or as steep as the Brahmanic and the class statuses of equal-opportunity. A property of every civilisation, we suggest, is that within it is a transmission of time-frames and practices of and for moving up a hierarchy. Seen from within these practices, every civilisation conveys senses of superiority, several of them and not necessarily unified, but bearing a family resemblance to each other. In describing them, an anthropology of civilisations does not of course endorse them as a universal standard, even though they may in their own terms claim to be universal. The important point is that a civilisation is a transmission of aspiration over a time-frame that may include generations, or longer periodicities, or simply a life course. Most important is that these practices are embedded in everyday material practices.


  Including the low with the high and everyday material pratices with textual traditions自上至下,日常物质实践与文本传统

  In an earlier attempt at a comparative historical anthropology of cultures and civilisations in the 1950s and 1960s, organised and heavily influenced by Robert Redfield and his concept of Great Traditions, every civilisation was seen from its centres downwards. In the case of the two China volumes in the series (Wright (ed) 1953 and Fairbank (ed) 1957) this was from textual traditions, capital cities, and ritual orthodoxies because they unified and brought together the everyday material practices and thoughts of ordinary people and their little traditions. We reject this model in favour of including everyday practices, and doing so without endorsing or prioritising textual traditions, high status practices, or capital cities and tops of hierarchies in general, in order to see the work of transmission at all levels and how, or if, they work together. Indeed, the fact that the main centres accommodate themselves to less powerful centres, within their regimes as well as on the frontiers of their regimes, shows the reverse of so-called Little and Great Traditions in terms of agency.

  在二十世纪五六十年代,在其所提出的“大传统”(Great Traditions)概念的深刻影响,罗伯特·雷德菲尔德(Robert Redfield)组织进行了较早的一次关于文化及文明的比较历史人类学研究。在这次研究尝试中每一种文明都是从其中心开始研究的。怀特和费正清分别在1953和1957年对其进行了编辑,在这两个系列中的中国卷中都是从文本传统、都城、正统宗教仪式等方面研究,因为这些方面是日常的物质实践、百姓的思想和他们的小传统的统一。然而,我们舍弃了这个方法,而是将日常的物质实践也包括进来,并不优先考虑整体性研究文本传统、高等级实践、都城、以及阶序中的高等级。我们的方法可以研究各个层次的传递,以及传递的方法,或者它们是否共同作用。事实上,主要城市在其政权范围之内或者边界地区都向影响力不那么强大的城市的方向寻求发展,这在性(agency)的层面上确实表明了罗伯特所谓的小传统和大传统的修正。

  One reason why I like the concept of civilization is that it raises the question of transformation through time. Another reason why I like the concept of civilisation is that once put into the plural, instead of establishing a universal standard for humanity, as it did in its first French and English usages, it describes the same sort of thing as does ‘culture’ but as a spread, not a unit. And that is where I want to start an approach to China, by reference and deference to the continued use of culture between universality and singularity and neither of these by Marshall Sahlins.

  我喜欢文明这概念,一方面是因为它涉及了随着时间转型的问题;另一个原因是,文明的复数形式,并不像其在法语和英语的最初用法中复数形式表示人文学的普遍标准,而是表示了和“文化”差不多的意思,它强调的不是一个整体,而是传播。而这正是我选择的研究中国的方法,引用并遵文化概念的普遍性和特殊性,这两个特性马歇尔·萨林斯(Marshall Sahlins)都未提及。

  Culture as civilisation: Marshall Sahlins

  文化作为文明:马歇尔•萨林斯(Marshall Sahlins)

  Sahlins’idea of spread is that it is structured by the making of distinctions between contiguous peoples or places that are in warring or raiding relations, in which each defines itself against the other. Each people is dependent on the immediately outside other for its self-definition, and this of course goes from one set of neighbouring peoples to the next. Each is a centre of representation and hierarchy defined against other centres of representation and of hierarchy. But since relations of marriage and treaty with gifts link each to the other, and by conquest the outside can become the centre of the inside of the other, the differentiations are internal as well as external. Over long periods of time and contiguity these differentiations become faultlines for intensification and escalation of local conflicts that break out into civil wars within each and of wars between neighbouring peoples.


  There is no whole, just parts defined by structural opposition in regions that can in principle be extended ever outward by their contrasts and their relations to external conditions, in which mythic figures of potential domination which are out of human or internal control prefigure and postfigure actual external political powers. Each centred culture is defined by that upon which its carriers and creators depend, an outside or an otherness and the compulsion to incorporate what is outside. In this structural fashion, with the aid of the pervasive figure of the stranger ruler and of internalised strangers that are created by marriage, Sahlins can include various kinds of spread. They range from empire, through empires of hegemony but not direct rule, or what Tambiah (1985) called ‘galactic systems’ radiating from civilisational centres and of trade, to relations of raiding and war. Sahlins can show that each identification of a polity, small and large, is also what he calls a cosmocracy defined against mytho-historic representations of its actual others. These mythic representations are enacted in rituals of command of life and the sources of fertility, of the giving of life, by an outsider who is also outside the control of ordinary practices, and can on occasion deal death and disease instead of life.


  China’s centricity


  I now move to Chinese time-frames and practices of centricity, how a Chinese civilisation is transmitted in its own practices, including non-verbal as well as verbal and textual practices. Here I will try to sum up as an outsider what I understand to be key elements of Chinese civilisation in terms taken from Chinese concepts of Chinese civilisation.


  Intellectuals of and within Chinese civilisation had profound conceptions of persistence and change. These concepts are of a pulse outward and inward and another alternation in which rule by illuminated emperors and ministers (mingjun) replace and are followed by confused rulers (hunjun), a pulse of harmonisation and confusion.[1]


  Secular change, and the physics and metaphysics of constant flux are accommodated in these two pulses. Illuminated rule is adjustment to secular change and response to the circuits of energy, bringing them into harmonic balance and productivity, within one’s body, in responsive networks of social relations, and responsive to the features and creatures of the living and physical environment, Earth (Di), according to eternal principles of change cosmologically located in Heaven (Tian). On a world scale, this is the function of the emperor, who harmonises and mediates between Heaven and Earth. But self-cultivation of the same kind as that conducted by an emperor and his chosen advisers can be learned by all from the emperor down. Self-cultivation is conducted in the most material and mundane disciplines of eating and agrarian cultivation, as well as through special exercises and meditation, and in particular through the proper conduct of lateral and hierarchical social relations, the etiquette and the rites of hospitality, of greeting and of separation.


  Self-cultivation for cosmic balance is a return to a central cosmogonic state of primary and generative chaos (hundun) out of which emerge the myriad things in cycles of Yin and Yang. In the conduct of rites of the annual cycle or of the inauguration of a temple or a tomb it is also a mediation from earth to heaven and between the living and the dead, involving journeys outward and upward to points where the two realms are close, visualised internally in the architecture of a house, or a temple or a palace, or in the inner crucible of the body and the space just above the head, or externally as mountains.


  Actual sacred mountains and their temples are the destinations of pilgrimage, by the emperor out of sight of ordinary people, but also by ordinary worshippers. And these sacred mountains are away from the political capitals of the realm and the territorial centres of local cults. In other words, there is a movement from and a return to the centres, replenishing them, both with spiritual life and with armed might. The armed forces mustered for the overthrow of a dynasty and the establishing of a new dynasty always included generals and their men from the fringes of the empire as well as those from the main territory, which was called hua-nei ‘within the bounds of civilisation’. The periphery is then a source both of renewal and of invasion. This is a pulse of absorption and of centring, in which the outside is alternatively designated as the source of life and the source of disorder. The recreation of order is to restore demonic powers to their places on the margin and as subordinates to military command, as forces within its control. Restoration of life is to draw from the outer and upper regions to replenish the centre, be it a local centre or the imperial centre.


  These are of course ideals, and Chinese cosmocracy, variously transmitted in the classics of rites (both those of Daoism and those associated with Confucius), includes depiction of the world as constantly out of balance, needing adjustment, in confusion and in danger of further confusion, needing correction.


  The equivalent in China to the uncontrolled and powerful other who commands life and death is either what I have already described in the pulse outward to distant centres. Or it is described by Chinese moral historians and in common usage as confusion (hunluan) and disorder (luan) – or obscurity an – the world of amorality, exploitation, and excess that needs to be ordered from the centres. Or it is the ocean of opportunity and ruthless conduct from which retreat to central havens is desirable. On the other hand there can be enlivening (huoshi) disorder, in which local leaders vie for face and influence in a contained fashion (Wang Mingming 2004 and Stephan Feuchtwang and Wang Mingming 2001: chapter 7). In other words the outside that can also be inside is a state of disruption, sudden change, and dislocation that needs to be absorbed and ordered by adjustment of transmitted order, but not to the point of stagnation.

  在中国,权力大到不受控制,掌握生死大权的人要么等同于我上面所说的向较远的中心脉动;要么,等同于中国道德史学家和大家都用的“混乱”、“乱”-----或者“暗”-----一个道德败坏,充满剥削,没有节制的世界需要中心来恢复秩序。又或者,它充满投机和残忍的行为,人们只想回归到中心避难。另一方面,地方首领会以含蓄的方式争夺威信和影响力(王铭铭 2004年,王斯福和王铭铭2001年:第七章)。也就是说,外部世界也会变成内部世界,它处于混乱,突变、错位的状态,需要通过调整重新恢复秩序,但还没到停滞的地步。

  I come now to a more detailed account of Chinese hierarchy which was defined by a proper conduct of social relations. Here I am indebted to the work of Chang Xiangqun , and to long discussions of her elaboration of the phrase lishangwanglai. The phrase indicates proper conducted relations among unequal statuses, principally those of patrilineal descent, patrilocal marriage, and patriarchy, analogically extended, to ruler and subject and to trusted associates, like siblings, and their networks. Until the state schooling of mass literacy in the second of the twentieth century, to be cultivated (hua) involved accomplishment in the arts of high literacy, and that included the most regulated literacy of what needed to be read and reproduced to pass the examinations qualifying the candidate for entry into the imperial civil service. This was also schooling and accomplishment in proper conduct, the rites (li).


  According to the practice of rites in interpersonal relations there is in addition a tripartite structure of reciprocity, of a compact between two relative equals under the authority of a third. The third is accepted by achieved reputation for social capacity, face, which includes the arts of persuasion and deception, of concealment and discretion, or it can be a deity with the reputation of responsiveness and righteousness.


  One model of this hierarchical asymmetry is bao, the gift of beneficence that must be honoured but can never be matched, a gift relationship that is used to describe the mutual obligations of parent and child and the pledge that moves a god or ancestor to reciprocate. Mutual obligation is loyalty in both directions, a responsiveness of beneficence to the offering and plight of the petitioner. Its negative is the horror of being excluded from authorisation, of abandonment or of destruction by an offended and supremely powerful authority. That destructive force from above is analogous to the imperial use of force to correct, establishing its current orthodox version of hierarchy.


  The less sacred version of the same hierarchy is performance of authority gained by the acquisition of the skills of face, achievement of status in a hierarchy of statuses. It can be seen at present at banquet tables, around which those in lower positions who are relatively equal in relation to each other sit having worked out their exact position of authority in relation to each other. This is a hierarchy of unequal diads and triads, extended by analogy to larger scales, from father-son to emperor-subject, and a lot in between. It is a hierarchy that stimulates aspiration to acquire the social arts, including the conduct of ritual and interpersonal conduct, as well as the other arts of self-cultivation.


  Chinese hierarchy is differential, in Professor Fei’s famous concept chaxu geju of asymmetrical interpersonal relations. It is not constituted by endogamous groups, as is the Hindu Brahmanic hierarchy but by individuals and their families, for whom there is more possibility for mobility through and within interpersonal relations and through individual and intergenerational acquisition of civilisational achievements, military and civil. It is a civilisation that places most emphasis on the conduct of relations, li, always hierarchical, between tributary guest and emperor, between emperor and Heaven, between generations, female and male, junior and elder, living and dead. It is a civilisation of the government of conduct, its correction, exemplary performance and enforcement. The spirituality of proper conduct is the subject of self-cultivation, one accomplished in the official arts of literacy and military prowess. But this can be either participation in rule within the imperial bureaucracy or in support of it as one of the ruling elite, or it can be in retreat from rule, in the accomplishments of ritual method, Daoist or Buddhist, or the lesser religions of China: Muslim, Manichaean, Christian. Since the compilation of the classic Zhuangzi and creation of the legend and the writings of Chu Yuan, both in the 4th century BCE, there has been within Chinese civilisation a tradition of the superiority of the renouncer over the upholder of convention and official literacy.


  Finally, a history of structural transformation


  What I have described as the civilisation of China is an end result, the accumulation of what was established after a number of cultural and social transformations. These transformations are too numerous to mention. But let me outline a few that I think were radical.


  Sarah Allen (2007) provides convincing evidence to support an argument that bronze ritual vessels made in the city excavated at a place called Erlitou in north-central China (Henan province) – a palace and city with a north-south oriented grid pattern as all Chinese capitals had from then onwards – in the period 1300-1050 BPE were what she calls hegemonic. By this she means that they were so influential that they were copied over the whole of what came a long time later to be the regions and provinces of the interior of the civilised world (huanei), which in English sinology is called China Proper. There were several centres of bronze production, but Erlitou bronzes had become dominant: a number of the shapes and key design features of the Erlitou bronzes were repeated and similarly used for ritual offerings of wine and food to ancestors. By the Zhou dynasty, 9th century BPE, inscriptions inside some of these bronze vessels show that they were for petitions to ancestors for protection and aid for promotion in the service of a ruling house (Marya Khayutina 2002). In the same dynasty the chief ruler was for the first time named Son of Heaven (Tianzi). When the ruler of one of the states sharing this culture, the Qin state in the third century BPE unified them all by conquest and standardised writing and much else, he called himself Emperor, (Huangdi, a semi-divine title) and created a cosmocracy that was also an empire, and that has been the aspiration of rule in China ever since, a civilisational centre that is also a political centre. The same ideal of a single exemplary ruler may well have existed in Indian civilisation, but it was not achieved until the Mughal empire of India, which was not Hindu nor did it rule through the Hindu cosmocracy.

  萨拉艾伦( 2007 )提供了有力的证据来支持论点,从中国中北部河南省二里头出土的青铜器在她看来对后来经历很长时间形成文明世界(化内)的地区和省市占有霸权地位,在英语汉学里这个世界被称为China Proper(?)。河南这个地方拥有南北指向的方格图案,从那以后,在公元前1300年-1050年间所有的中国的主要城市能看到这种图案。青铜器生产中心不止一个,但二里头的青铜器占主导地位:许多类似的形状和主要的设计特点在进贡祖先仪式上所用的器具上反复出现。公元前9世纪周朝的一些青铜器内部刻有铭文,内容是请求祖先保佑,辅佐国家统治(Marya Khayutina 2002),同样在周朝,君王首次被称为天子。公元前3世纪秦代一统中国,统一了文字和许多其它元素,这种文化被传播开来,秦代君王自称皇帝---一个半人半神的头衔,并创建了帝国,从此这就成为了中国统治者的热望,帝国是文化中心也是政治中心。这种唯一的表率君王理念也存在于印度文明中,但直到莫卧尔帝国建立才实现,但他们不以印度教为国教,莫卧尔也不是全印度的皇帝。

  From the Tang dynasty onwards (618-905), imperial codes protected private land ownership for all peasants and instituted equal inheritance among sons, so breaking up landed estates that were not lineage, princely or monastic trusts. This increased central imperial power. Tang governmental measures also included the spread to commoners of access to the political class through education in literacy and passing civil service examinations. But many positions were still reserved for princely and landed classes. Eventually, privileges of birth for entry into the imperial bureaucracy were abolished completely in the southern Song dynasty, 12th and 13th centuries. In addition commoners, who partly as a result of the long absorption of Buddhism, had acquired for themselves the privilege formerly confined to the families of magnates of landed estates and dynastic houses, to honour ancestors more than seven generations. The southern Song imperial state endorsed this. Thenceforth commoners would honour ancestors up to any number of generations further back, and it became possible for commoners to be buried in sites that, if auspicious enough, could produce descendants who would become emperors.

  从唐朝开始( 618-905),中华帝国的法律开始承认农民占有土地的合法性,并规定男性继承人拥有平等的继承权,打乱了地主、官僚、贵族兼并的土地。这一做法加强了中央集权。唐朝政府的举措还允许平民通过科举考试参加到政权中来,但许多职位仍留给了王侯和地主阶级。12到13世纪南宋时期彻底废除了奴隶主贵族的世卿世禄制度。此外,由于长期受到佛教的影响,自南宋开始,平民可以获得祭敬祖上七代的权利,这种特权之前只有王侯才能享受。自那时起,平民可以祭敬任何世代的祖先,如果平民死后被埋葬的地方吉祥的话,这个地方可能能够造就后代君主。

  Through these social transformations, the centring of the empire was accompanied by a proliferation of numinous centres of local self-organisation through ritual. Throughout, from the bronze makers, oracle bone diviners, city and palace builders, and ritual experts of the arts of achieving immortality in the late Bronze and early Iron Chinese ages onwards, there was also a proliferation of masters teaching the arts of self-cultivation, music, martial arts and literacy to commoners as well as to rulers.


  It is arguable that the first Ming emperor had a nation-building mission. He not only sharpened and garrisoned imperial borders. He also set out to homogenise the civilisation of the population within them. This included establishing official temples to focus territorial communities (she) on virtuous elders, the reading of community compacts, and maintenance of altars for the care of orphan souls (li), well below the level of the county magistrate, in addition to the state cults replicating those of the capital at every administrative level. Midway through the dynasty the costs of maintaining the she and li had become a severe drain on the imperial treasury and local gentry were expected to raise the funds for their maintenance. In the course of this devolution, local appropriation turned them into territorial cults whose deities and ghosts were addressed for their demonic power to respond to local pleas and pledges, and which formed their own hierarchies on centres of devotion and aspiration. The same appropriation turned garrison command territories (pujing) into territorial cults and organisation points of local militia (Wang Mingming forthcoming).


  This was a civilisation of fa, to add to the civilisation of conduct (li) and of renunciation, in which the subjects of the emperor imagined and made visible and concrete their own versions of an imperial and socially just rule. Fa is a wonderfully multivalent word: it refers to the capacity of ritual performed by experts to be magically effective – these ritual experts are lumped together now as Daoists; it also refers to the Buddhist dharma (rules of conduct and renunciation); and to law in general and its enforcement, as well as to method or capacity to get things done.

  这是法的文明,补充了礼与放弃的文明,法是皇帝把自己设想中的治国之法付诸实际,成为一个实质性的社会公正的法规。法是个具有多重意义的词:它可以指宗教仪式上法师所履行的神奇有效的法事(这些法师现在统称道士);它也指佛教教规(放弃和行为的准则); 它还泛指一般意义上的法律,以及行事的方式和能力。

  Similarly from the bottom, the second commercial revolution – as Valerie Hansen (2000: 405) has called it – occurred during the Ming dynasty: an increased the hierarchy of central places into regions and their cities of specialised production for exchange and of mercantile accumulation.It was also a hierarchy of goods, amplified at their peak by the tribute trade sponsored by the imperial capital, the exotic and luxurious from overland and maritime trade routes and the fine goods of Chinese production for court and for external trade. But where previous Chinese empires were open, particularly at the broad peripheral regions of the southeast, southwest and northwest, semi-autonomous kingdoms and principalities, the first Ming emperor set standards of civilisation and rule that sought to create homogeneity within clearly marked boundaries and after the reopening of the empire by the Yongle emperor (1403 -1424), subsequent emperors followed the aim of defensive closure and homogenisation.

  明朝期间,按韩森(2000: 405)的说法叫做第二次商业革命的阶段,中心区域的等级关系从底层开始加强,并延续到了特殊商品交换和积累的地方和城邦。他们建立起了一个商品的等级制度,这一制度的鼎盛时期,商品分为给皇朝首府的贡品,通过陆运或海运的外来奢侈品、本国为皇宫和国外生产的高级商品。但是相比之前皇帝对于其领土开放的做法,特别是对于东南、西南和西北广阔的周边地区,以及半自治的诸侯国,明太祖建立起了文明的标准和准则,希望以此在明确的地域里达到统一。虽然永乐帝(1403年-1424年) 后来重新开放了门户,但后来的皇帝都遵循并实行了防御性的闭关锁国以及内部统一。

  By the end of the Ming dynasty and continuing through the next, Qing dynasty, the imperial population had two spiritual standards: of li and of fa. Both were subject to expertise. The proper conduct of rituals in the state cults, for public events or for domestic rites of passage and mortuary rites were and still are known and led by local literate and respected transmitters of protocol and tradition, called lisheng. They are above and beyond any particular religious doctrine or method. The effective conduct of rites known as fa, on the other hand, are conducted by experts who are respected and feared because their skills are thought capable of making things happen through their mediation between the worlds of the living and the dead – be they gods, demons, souls or bodhisattvas. Confined to neither and going beyond both are the knowledges of crafts, healing, self-cultivation through the exercise and concentration of breathing and circuits of energy (qi) – similar to yoga – the common arts of theatre, story-telling, appreciation of landscape and the finer arts of calligraphy, landscape painting and poetry.

  明代末期一直到清朝,皇朝子民有两个精神准则:礼和法。两者都有专人操控。 祭拜仪式,无论是公众仪式还是家族生命仪式或者埋葬仪式,都要通知地方学者和礼节传统上受尊敬的人物并由他们主持,这叫礼生。这种做法没有特定的宗教理论或方法可以解释。仪式的有效开展称为法,但是它是由受人敬畏的法师来执行的,因为人们认为他们拥有神奇的能力,他们是生死两个世界的中间人,无论另一个世界是天神、恶魔、灵魂还是菩萨。不受这两个世界的限制的有手工艺知识、治疗技术,通过控制和集中呼吸和气(类似瑜伽)来达到的自我修养、戏剧艺术、讲故事的技巧、对风景的欣赏力、和书法艺术、风景画和诗歌。

  Whether seen from the top down, as a correction of li, or from the bottom up as an aspiration to li and a reimagined empire of fa, this is a cosmology that is at once spiritual and political, unlike the Indian in which the spiritual can be defined territorially and in other ways distinct from the territory and centres of political rule.


  Of course, efforts of homogenisation and correction are never successful, any more than are the even more forceful and organised efforts of nation-building in more recent times. My point is not to measure their success but rather to say that in China the sense of a shared, centred and bounded civilisation was spread, even though what was its content was never agreed by all and in nearly half the years of dynastic imperial rule in fact the empire was divided into rivals for the unity of China.


  With each structural transformation, what persists in the arts of self-cultivation and hierarchical aspiration conveys not just itself but a new polity and new statuses, always as an ideal against actual chaos and disorder. In the new frame of national progressive time, namely of the modernising project, more and then less revolutionary, what persists is another long term sense of time, a temporality of responsive rule and returns to it. But it is now in a critical juxtaposition to the new institutions of state and eonomomy and therefore itself conveys this new temporality.


  To Sahlins’ series of structural transformations of otherness as he moves toward a galactic centre, I offer a complementary concept of civilisation as a process of centring and aspiration. But more than that, I suggest that what is persistent is a distinctive way of learning and of transmission. Its content, that which is learnt, the content of which can vary and change with the absorption of influences, information. It is a way of absorbing and responding to whatever is confronted and exploited opportunistically as confusion. The means of absorption include law, agreements and compacts, or forms of economic organisation. But each way of transmitting and learning is also a hierarchy of accomplishment and aspiration. A civilisation is a number of similar hierarchies of aspiration with their own centres, as well as the national-imperial centre, sharing many characteristics and contents, but also spreading into and mixing with other civilisations. Each locality can claim it is a center of THE civilisation. And each civilisation spreads into and mingles with the spread of other civilisation.


  [1] Amongst others, in the following I am most indebted to conversations with Wang Mingming, and reading his forthcoming book on the long history of the city of Quanzhou – to be published soon by Leftcoast Press. In the meantime see Wang Mingming (2004: 35). Hunjun and mingjun were used in popular literature and drama to distinguish between zhi (well-ordered and prosperous) and luan (mismanaged and chaotic) reigns, the terms preferred by intellectual commentators on emperors who were either confused or were controlled by their wives\' families who had strong military power. One of the intellectuals to comment in this way was Liang Qichao in his Research Method of Chinese History, which has a chapter called "Several Important Problems in the Study of Cultural History", written in 1926 criticising his own previous evolutionist, progressive view of human history. (Thanks to Wang Mingming for this information – personal communication).



不妨把“China Proper”译为“中国本土”,“otherness”译为“他性”。