Donkey bazaar, a bazaar of hell: an investigation into donkeys and donkey trading in Kashgar, Xinjiang, China
Eli, A, Donkey bazaar, a bazaar of hell: an investigation into donkeys and donkey trading in Kashgar, Xinjiang, China, Economic Action in Theory and Practice: Anthropological Investigations , Emerald, Donald C. Wood (ed), Bingley, UK, pp. 159-185. ISBN 978-0-85724-117-7 (2010) [Research Book Chapter]
This chapter focuses on donkey traders and trading in Kashgar in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, an area which has experienced unrest and also seen sporadic incidents of violence that reflect the social and political instability in China since the 1990s. The Uyghurs are a Turkic speaking Islamic people who are classified as one of the country's 56 ethnic groups. Since the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, mass migration of Han Chinese to this remote Central Asian region has intensified relations between the indigenous Uyghurs and the migrant Han Chinese, with many socioeconomic and political consequences. Through an exploration of the Uyghurs' cultural and religious understanding of donkeys and the multidimensional transactions of donkeys in livestock markets between Han Chinese and Uyghurs, the chapter argues that the practices and meanings of culture are both accommodated and contested when economic and political realities are simultaneously in play. Examining the changing characteristics of the intermediaries at donkey markets also sheds light on the ways in which these actors are becoming agents who bridge peasant communities in remote parts of southern Xinjiang and national markets amidst otherwise unfavourable social and economic conditions.