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In the early years of mass nationalism in colonial South Asia, Mohandas Gandhi inaugurated a swadeshi (indigenous goods) movement, which aimed to achieve swaraj, or “home rule,” by establishing India's economic self-sufficiency from Britain. Invoking an earlier movement of the same name, Gandhi created a new form of swadeshi politics that encouraged the production and exclusive consumption of hand-spun, hand-woven cloth called khadi. The campaign to popularize this movement took many forms, including the organization of exhibitions that demonstrated cloth production and sold khadi goods. On the occasion of one such exhibition in 1927, Gandhi explained the significance of exhibitions for the movement:
[The exhibition] is designed to be really a study for those who want to understand what this khadi movement stands for, and what it has been able to do. It is not a mere ocular demonstration to be dismissed out of our minds immediately. … It is not a cinema. It is actually a nursery where a student, a lover of humanity, a lover of his own country may come and see things for himself.
In a particularly influential paper in the critique of development literature in anthropology, Arturo Escobar once suggested that an underlying cause of the “crisis in developmentalist discourse” is our inability to imagine an alternative (1992, 21). The problem, he explains, is not a shortage of critics but, rather, a plethora who are content to operate within the “epistemological and cultural space” defined by the development discourse itself. Yet, he goes on in a subsequent work, “[t]he alternative is, in a sense, always there” (1995, 223), if not in the work of development professionals and critics, then in hybridizations constructed by local people to protect and to improve themselves (218–19). This paper is about such hybridized alternatives as they have developed over the past century among a group of pottery makers in rural Sri Lanka. These are not, however, the mass social movements to which Escobar was referring. Rather, they are everyday and, more important, ongoing refashionings of economic and social assistance programs as these local people select from, remake, and reject opportunities that come their way. While Escobar describes grassroots resistance to the very discourse of “Third World development,” the Sri Lankan potters neither resist consistently nor accept consistently the developers' views of the world and the development gifts on offer. Instead, the potters work toward their own goals and make choices accordingly, both influenced by and influencing the shifting external discourses in which they participate (Woost 2000, 769).
By definition, the cold war was understood on both sides of the conflict to be a global struggle that stopped short of direct military engagement between the superpowers (the U.S. and the USSR). In Europe, the putative center ofthat struggle, the geopolitical battle lines were fixed after the early 1950s, or they at least could not be altered by normal military means without provoking World War III—which would result in mutual annihilation. Therefore, each side hoped to make gains over the other by using more subtle, political, and often clandestine methods, winning the “hearts and minds” of people in the other bloc (as well as maintaining potentially wayward support in one's own bloc), hoping to subvert the other side from within. The cold war was an enormous campaign of propaganda and psychological warfare on both sides. A vast range of cultural resources, from propaganda posters and radio broadcasts to sophisticated literary magazines, jazz bands, ballet troupes, and symphony orchestras, were weapons in what has recently come to be called the “Cultural Cold War” (Saunders 1999). Studies of the cultural cold war have proliferated since the late 1990s, most of which focus on U.S. cultural policy and are concerned with the European “theater” of this conflict (Hixson 1997; Fehrenbach and Poiger 2000; Poiger 2000; Berghahn 2001).
Xuanwei, a county-level municipality (xianji shi) located in the northeastern corner of Yunnan province, has nothing remarkable to boast. It is, of course, one of the largest counties in China and “home of the Yunnan ham.” Xuanwei is even the native place of Zhuo Lin, wife of the late Deng Xiaoping. Such trivia apart, Xuanwei's vital statistics read as a microcosm of interior China that moreover cover a wide variety of ecological and socioeconomic regimes. For mainly this reason, Stig Thøgersen of Aarhus University and I decided in 1998 that Xuanwei's unremarkable status made it the ideal rural inland fieldwork site that we sought for European researchers.
Here's a short version: The “-ism” we invoke when we posit things like “Daoism” was glimpsed for the first time by Sima Tan . (d. 110 b.c.e.), lord grand astrologer (taishigong) to the Han court. His essay “Yaozhi” (Essential points), included in the final chapter of his son Sima Qian's Taishigong, analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of six approaches to governance: