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

By Charles Stafford

Abstract

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

Topics: GN Anthropology
Publisher: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1080/00141840902751238
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lse.ac.uk:31452
Provided by: LSE Research Online

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