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Numbers and the natural history of imagining the self in Taiwan and China

Stafford, Charles (2009) Numbers and the natural history of imagining the self in Taiwan and China. Ethnos, 74 (1). pp. 110-126. ISSN 0014-1844

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Identification Number: 10.1080/00141840902751238


In the Chinese cultural tradition, numbers may be seen as meaningful, creative, even poetic things, and they figure prominently in accounts of the self. Rather than 'reducing people to numbers', quantification is used - by at least some people some of the time - as a mode of differentiating themselves from others, a means of narrating unique life experiences. This paper explores the role of numbers in accounts of the self, drawing primarily on a case study of one woman from rural Taiwan. It is suggested that a natural historical framework can help illuminate numbers and number systems as Chinese technologies of the imagination.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2009 Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Divisions: Anthropology
Asia Centre
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Sets: Departments > Anthropology
Research centres and groups > Asia Research Centre
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2011 14:00
Last Modified: 20 May 2020 02:04

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