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By 卞孝萱


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Fei does not describe concrete social patterns as he did in his earlier ethnographies. Instead, he builds his sociology on the development of models or ideal types, and he sharpens these models through contrasts with models drawn from other societies. "First," says Fei, we should start with our own society, and then we may study others for purposes of comparison. I am an outsider to [the United States], but I can see how different it is from mine through such comparisons. "38 II CHAXUGE/U The main theory that Fei develops analytically to describe Chinese society depicts the principles of Chinese social organization.

313-29. : Stanford University Press, 1988), a compilation of women speaking about their own lives in the People's Republic of China in the 1980s. " In Chinese society, gender definitions cannot be separated from social roles; gender definitions are inherent aspects of relational categories and are primal forces fundamental in shaping the world-the yin and the yang. 58 In Chinese society, it is difficult to conceive of "man" and "woman" as meaningful social categories apart from specific relationships.

To the Chinese themselves, it is a transformative view; Fei's theories have become the points of reference for how to think about Chinese society. For Westerners who read this book and who think through Fei's ideas for the first time, Fei's view is equally transformative. knowledge-particular rules about particular people in particular places. Fei's sociology demands that we in the West rethink ourselves. 79. In fairness, it should be noted that Mao used class analysis as a way to change Chinese society, to mobilize the peasantry, rather than as a way to understand it.

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