Widows In China Summary

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As we know, “widow” in China is an attractive word which attracts numerous scholars to study. “Widows in the Kinship, Class, and Community Structures of Qing Dynasty China” is one of these studies written by Susan Mann. In this journal, Susan Mann first came up with the changed concept of chaste widowhood in Qing dynasty and described the measures that Qing court Implemented to encourage chastity of widows. Then the author summarized three facets of widowhood embodied in Qing society, they are community structure, kinship and class respectively. In my opinion, I support Susan Mann’s summarization of widows in the former three aspects in Qing dynasty. And I hold that chaste widows played a vital role in Qing society and its significance can …show more content…
In my view, Susan Mann’s description shows the importance of chaste widows to community structure of Qing society. At first, lower gentry experienced so called class struggle so that they can improve their social status through gaining the honor recognition of chaste widows. In addition, chaste widows were symbols of community honor that represented the local moral standards of community to the outside world. Besides, both the instability of females in Chinese family system and the importance of the relationship between men and women to community anticipates the vulnerability and significance of chaste widows in family system of community. At last, chaste widows gave an expression of gender hierarchy which is one idea in Confucian philosophy that was upheld by court and communities. In a word, chaste widows are one of the footstones of community structure in Qing …show more content…
Based on Susan Mann’s viewpoints, I consider that chaste widows played a constructive role in keeping the order of class in Qing dynasty. On the one hand, chaste widows satisfied the need of local gentry and is advocated by them because local gentry strived to improve their social status through gaining the honor recognition of chaste widow which was a part of the collective consciousness of them. On the other hand, the striving s of local gentry also met the Manchu court’s political interest. Furthermore, the Manchu court utilized the concept of chaste widows as a tool to regulate the local gentry and maintain its control in Qing dynasty. Via moral reform and reward of chaste widows which are targeted in local gentry, the Manchu court could enhance the traditional Chinese culture so that it can strengthen its political reign. In brief, in Qing dynasty, the higher class could solidify its position and meet the demand of lower class by using the concept of chaste

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