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Segmentation Within the State: The Reconfiguration of Tibetan Tribes In China's Reform Period

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Despite the upheavals of collectivisation and reform, the nomadic pastoralists of Amdo, in the north-eastern part of the Tibetan plateau, maintain that they substantially retain historic forms of tribal organisation. The governmental structures of the modern Chinese state have replaced the hereditary rulers, kings and monastic leaders who formerly exercised leadership over the nomads' tribes. However, ideologies of revenge and practices of feuding still characterise relations between tribal groups. Moreover, the nomads continue to turn to senior Buddhist lamas as mediators, despite the criminal sanctions imposed by the police. It is suggested that these elements represent a continuity in tribal forms within the framework of control now exercised by the nation state. An uneasy relationship between tribes and state has long characterised this region and continues to do so in the modern world.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • Nomadic Peoples is an international journal published by the White Horse Press for the Commission on Nomadic Peoples, International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences. Its primary concerns are the current circumstances of all nomadic peoples around the world and their prospects. Its readership includes all those interested in nomadic peoples, scholars, researchers, planners and project administrators.
    Nomadic Peoples has a Journal Impact Factor (2022) of 0.9. 5 Year Impact Factor: 0.9.
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