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Chapter Three

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Chapter Summary

Humans are hardwired to think with the aid of categories and, all too often, with resort to social stereotypes, as social perception is based on the classification of individuals into groups. Mental representations of social groups are beliefs, knowledge and expectations, like 'pictures' concerning certain categories of persons. Many stereotypes concern age and gender, and reflect in a conformist or critical way the social division of roles. Chao Yuan and Di Xichen, the main protagonists of the Xingshi yinyuan zhuan, are an example of the sarcastic portrait of illiterate and unworthy scholars. This chapter shortly presents the materials for three environmental cases: 1) family background, 2) geographical origin, and 3) barbarians and inhabitants of barbarian lands. The Ming and Qing anxiety on gender and social identity has been stressed by several scholars, as Katherine Carlitz, Yenna Wu and T'ien Ju-k'ang, Song Geng.

Keywords: barbarian lands; Chao Yuan; Di Xichen; social stereotypes; Xingshi yinyuan zhuan



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