Fluid Vernacular Architecture —Spatial Ethnograpy in the Rural Area of Southeastern China


After the 1970s, the Chinese rural area has been shaped by two forces. One is from the rural community, which is internal and reflected in the inheritance of traditions and old habits; the other is from outside the community, which is external and manifested in the penetration of urbanization and the intervention of the strong government. Under the influence of internal and external forces, the contemporary Chinese rural community presents a complex and fluid state, and can directly be observed on the vernacular architecture, which is regarded as the materialization of social relations. This paper examines the vernacular architecture spaces in a rural community in southeastern China and uses "spatial ethnography" as the main research method. "Spatial ethnography" enriches the level of investigation of social facts by coupling classical anthropological ethnography with architectural mapping and space analysis. The research is organized by three dimensions of time as clues, which are historical time, everyday life time, and immediate time. Historical time dimension examines the evolution of space forms under social and historical changes; everyday lifetime dimension shows the redevelopment of the space under people’s everyday activities; immediate time dimension time presents the transformation of the function and atmosphere of space in an instant situation. The intervention of multi-level time dimensions helps to reveal the different levels of fluidity shaping process of spaces, and to understand the complexity and contradictions of the decisions made by the rural people during these processes, and to reveal the shaping mechanism of the internal and external tension on the rural space.

Author Information
Naifei Liu, Tsinghua University, China
Kaijian Yue, Tsinghua University, China
Xiaoyue Zhang, Tsinghua University, China

Paper Information
Conference: ACSS2023
Stream: Anthropology

This paper is part of the ACSS2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Liu N., Yue K., & Zhang X. (2023) Fluid Vernacular Architecture —Spatial Ethnograpy in the Rural Area of Southeastern China ISSN: 2186-2303 – The Asian Conference on the Social Sciences 2023: Official Conference Proceedings https://doi.org/10.22492/issn.2186-2303.2023.33
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.22492/issn.2186-2303.2023.33

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon