Titel: The Basic Unit of an Empire: Studies of the Household System in Early Imperial China (ca. 3rd-1st century BCE)
Sprache: Englisch
Autor*in: Wang, Xiao
Schlagwörter: household; administration; legal; bamboo
GND-Schlagwörter: China <Motiv>GND
Manuscript <Druckschrift>GND
History <Druckschrift>GND
Erscheinungsdatum: 2021
Tag der mündlichen Prüfung: 2022-04-12
This dissertation explores the household system developed in the Qin and early Han periods (ca. 3rd-1st century BCE) mainly by examining the transmitted and excavated textual materials. It shows that the household unit, as an artificial unit legitimized by the authorities, enabled the direct control of the population by the central government. Except for reconstructing the general management theoretically, this dissertation pays much attention to the local society and focuses on real administration.
Chapter one starts with the analysis of two crucial legal terms—“household member” and “co-resident”—that frequently occur in the legal texts. “Household members” denotes the people on the same household register, which was not determined by kinship; besides, subjects and slaves were considered their masters’ household members as well. Distinctly, the “co-resident” group did not include the subjects and slaves, and only formal family members who lived in the same residence were attributed to it.
Then we investigate the succession and establishment of households which constitute the fundamental issue in functioning the household system. The succession for a household concerns two aspects: the succession to the householder status and the succession to the rank. Nonetheless, these two aspects represent two distinguished systems, the rank system and the heir system, respectively, which were not always consistent with each other. The succession for households signifies the maintenance of pre-existing households, while the establishment of households implies the creation of new households. Separation of a household by adult sons was encouraged in Qin and early Han times. With more households, the government could extract more taxes and labor services.
Chapter Three engages in reconstructing the hierarchical household management in administration by illustrating the functions of different-level organizations and the relevant personnel. Among the local levels composed of the village, district, prefecture and commandery, the role played by the district level was particularly prominent. Its significance was primarily counted on the exclusive manipulation of the original household registers. Additionally, the functions of the Bureau of Households and the Commandant Office in household management at the prefecture level are also examined.
In Chapter Four, household tax is explored as one of the economic responsibilities imposed on households. Based on the analysis of various accounts and records, we have shown the amount of household tax each household should pay, the time when to hand the tax in, the free conversion between in-kind and cash, etc., from both legal and administrative perspectives. Moreover, we have reconstructed the processing procedure of this part of government revenue by different offices.
Chapter Five elaborates on confiscation and collective liability, two legal punishments directing to the household unit and its extension. By comparison, confiscation was inclined to penalize the householder by impounding his/her spouse, non-adult children and properties, whereas collective liability was used to punish the people for their dereliction of the duty to monitor and report the offenses of the people around.
The sixth chapter is a supplementary discussion on the nature of Qianling Prefecture and the role played by the District Office. We conclude that Qianling was a town of immigrants primarily made up of outsiders who were transported there. Although the District Office was in charge of household and population management and collecting the household tax, which was crucial in many aspects, it was not the only connection between the bottom of the society and the Prefecture Court. Other Offices, such as the Fields Offices, were in the same level with it.
URL: https://ediss.sub.uni-hamburg.de/handle/ediss/9747
URN: urn:nbn:de:gbv:18-ediss-102338
Dokumenttyp: Dissertation
Betreuer*in: Friedrich, Michael
Enthalten in den Sammlungen:Elektronische Dissertationen und Habilitationen

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