SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Ms Yun Miao



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Ms Yun Miao
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Thesis title:
Being Tibetan in Shangri-La: Tibetans' interactions with development projects in Southwest China
Year of Study:
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PhD Research

Focusing on various “development” projects implemented by outsiders – including government, NGOs and businesses - my research aims to investigate the transformations brought about by these projects, their impacts on Tibetans and individuals’ tactics based on  local understandings and every day practices of development in Shangri-La, the Tibetan region of Yunnan, China.

My doctoral thesis looks at six aspects of daily life with following working subtitles: Tourism: who speak for the culture? Performance for whom? Forest management; Grape: the choices of eco-agriculture; Honey: the stories behinds ethnic consumption; Education for the future.

My research explores individuals’ perceptions of development relating to their material lives, environmental safety, social lives and cultural identities.  Beside government policies and projects, individuals are influenced by the village community which is culturally, emotionally and economically bound. The multiple identities of cultural identity, political identity, and regional identity coexist at same time, and there are gaps between ideal, performed and practiced identities. While contradictory logics and practices regarding development projects have been demonstrated, I would like to draw attrition to various mediating points, which demonstrate that development projects are negotiated by different actors. Using different tactics such as cooperation, indifference, compromise and subversion, Tibetans have actively engaged in and negotiated with development projects, despite their limited space for action.