Kinship, Ethnicity and Landscape: The ‘bone (?u35)’ of the Pumi Speaking People in Yunnan, China
Through discussing the concept of “?u35” of the Pumi speaking people living in Yongning Township of Ninglang Yi Autonomous County in Yunnan, China, this paper illustrates how the mutual engagement of humans and their physical surroundings contributes to the forming and understanding of “kinship” relation, social grouping and ethnic identity of the local people in the Tibetan borderlands. I introduce how Pumi people understand the relations between houses in their local community with the idea of “?u35”, how individuals realize the continuity of the house by accomplishing one’s life in the space of the house with one’s ashes(?u35) buried in the mountains that exhibits the specific identity of the house and its endurance, and how the ritual practices and arrangement of the house and village space form the configuration and understanding of the landscape that composed the context of this process. Thus, I explain how the ‘bone’ concept in Pumi, the idiom of “?u35”, expresses the relation and identity generated through the interaction and mutual engagement between the reproductive gendered human bodies and the durable physical surroundings people inhabit, and I argue that the concept of “?u35” implies an identity and form of relations which build upon the meaningful landscape loaded with human practices and past lives as its ontological basis. I suggest that this relational and ontological form generated by the mutual formation of human and physical surroundings may be shared by other native peoples who use the concept of ‘bone’ to express the relation of their essential social groupings in the Tibetan borderlands, and that this ontological form is the basis of the interaction and mutual understanding between different peoples in the region. Compared with the self-designated ethnic category of the Pumi speaking people that represents an identity unified by the “?u35” and embodies an ontology that assumes the continuity of social identity with the human body, physical house and the surrounding landscape, the official category of “Pumi Zu” rests upon a biological ontology with a spatial scheme assuming that the formation of social relation is independent from the physical surroundings. Therefore, I suggest that an ethnic name should not be seen as solely a name for categorizing peoples, but rather as the reification of an ontological process that implies specific ways of connecting human and physical surroundings and through which social relations and identities are defined.
在 IR 系統中的文件，除了特別指名其著作權條款之外，均受到著作權保護，並且保留所有的權利。