2012 New History

A Review of Research on Lineage in Sung China since the 1980s

En-hsiu Kuo

Graduate Institute of History, National Taiwan University

Lineage studies are extremely important for both social and political history. Scholars regard the Sung Dynasty as a turning point in the evolution of the Chinese patriarchal clan. As a result, and given the relative richness of published historical materials for the period, Chinese scholarly research, especially after 1980, has focused on the Sung Dynasty patriarchal clan and its relations to aspects of Chinese society such as the examination system and marriage. This article offers a brief review of this generation of research. It also attempts to answer a few crucial questions: What is a patriarchal clan? What different forms do families, clans, and lineages take? How do they grow and thrive? And finally, how do they decline?


Keywords: civil service examination, social mobility, lineage