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Studying Tibetan Populations

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Chapter Summary

The state of the field of research on Tibetan demography can be summarized as a contrast between micro-level and macro-level approaches. While Western scholars, mainly anthropologists, studied polyandry in small-scale societies, government organizations in China and in exile gathered statistical data through large-scale surveys. This chapter presents four case studies, which examine populations that differ by geography, time, and size. Despite such differences, the author continually relies on a microdemographic research strategy that draws upon the conceptual and methodological strengths of anthropology without sacrificing the quantitative assets of demography. By using a consistent methodological approach in these different research projects, the author collected data that is not only amenable to comparisons, but that also highlights the localized nuances of historical processes, family systems, cultural attitudes, and the influences these have on demographic outcomes.

Keywords: China; cultural attitudes; family systems; Tibetan demography



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