Cosmologies of Credit: Transnational Mobility and the Politics of Destination in China

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9780822347927: Cosmologies of Credit: Transnational Mobility and the Politics of Destination in China
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Year after year a woman sits in her bare living quarters with her bags packed. She is waiting for a phone call from her snakehead, or human smuggler. That longed-for call will send her out her door, away from Fuzhou, China, on a perilous, illicit journey to the United States. Nothing diffuses the promise of an overseas destiny: neither the ever-increasing smuggling fee for successful travel nor her knowledge of the deadly risks in transit and the exploitative labor conditions abroad. The sense of imminent departure enchants her every move and overshadows the banalities of her present life. In this engrossing ethnographic account of how the Fuzhounese translate their desires for mobility into projects worth pursuing, Julie Y. Chu focuses on Fuzhounese efforts to recast their social horizons beyond the limitations of “peasant life” in China. Transcending utilitarian questions of risks and rewards, she considers the overflow of aspirations in the Fuzhounese pursuit of transnational destinations. Chu attends not just to the migration of bodies, but also to flows of shipping containers, planes, luggage, immigration papers, money, food, prayers, and gods. By analyzing the intersections and disjunctures of these various flows, she explains how mobility operates as a sign embodied through everyday encounters and in the transactions of persons and things.

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From the Back Cover:

"In this vivid account of Fuzhounese villagers' strenuous efforts to realize their own cosmopolitan mobility as undocumented, smuggled persons, Julie Y. Chu connects architecture, spirit money, the politics of destination, and the cosmology of value. As she convincingly argues, mobility is the modern feature of modernity, and the real is always in motion."--Tani Barlow, Rice University

About the Author:

Julie Y. Chu is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago.

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9780822348061: Cosmologies of Credit: Transnational Mobility and the Politics of Destination in China

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ISBN 10: 0822348063 ISBN 13: 9780822348061
Publisher: Duke University Press Books, 2010
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