The "war on terror" has generated a scramble for expertise on Islamic or Asian "culture" and revived support for area studies, but it has done so at the cost of reviving the kinds of dangerous generalizations that area studies have rightly been accused of. In the case of China, this book shows the diverse array of critical but solidly grounded research approaches that can be used in studying a society. Its approach neither trivializes nor dismisses the elusive effects of culture, and it pays attention to both the state and the multiplicity of voices that challenge it.
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