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Editor’s Introduction

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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter presents an overview of how the other chapters in the book Research from Archival Case Records: Law, Society, and Culture in China are organized. The book contains five parts and postscript. Part one provides a fine demonstration of how legal case records can serve as powerful material evidence for the social lives of common people in historical periods. Part two discusses Qing legal thinking and traditional Chinese law. Part three presents a power network analysis rather than a state vs. society frame to analyze the process of modern state-making in late imperial and early Republican China. Part four provides the most finely textured look to date at the distinctive social-legal phenomenon of the two-headed families (liangtoujia). Part five deals with past and present local administration and court mediation in China.

Keywords: court mediation; early Republican China; late imperial China; legal case records; liangtoujia; local administration; Qing legal thinking; traditional Chinese law



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