1.1 What is CBIK’s interest
As part of a global collaborative research network, CBIK has chosen differenttopics for research, and at least one case study within each topic. The topics chosenfor Yunnan are: cultural diversity, poverty and resettlement, and cultural assets andtourism. These topics have been chosen (a) in consideration of the research themeoutlines and (b) in consideration of CBIK’s role as a socially engaged NGO. We hopethrough case studies, at the same time as contributing to the goals of the globalresearch project, to also gain new understandings of the position of CBIK as an actor in relation to other actors within the fields researched.CBIK’s mission is as follows:
To enhance the ability of local groups to strengthen their evolving cultural traditions while finding innovative solutions for improving their livelihoodsand enhancing biodiversity through interdisciplinary research, capacitybuilding, participatory approaches for intercultural dialogue and interactionsamong local and scientific cultures, languages and knowledge systems inSouthwest China.
CBIK, as socially engaged learning organization, we have selected topics for research that would make contributions to our own understanding of our ownpractice, as well as the practices of partner organizations and individuals involved inboth research and practice in the fields of cultural resources, biodiversityconservation, poverty alleviation and social development. The topics suggestedbelow cover the main program areas of CBIK as well as the main strategic policyareas of the Provincial Government.
1.2 Official and vernacular identifications
The aim of the global research project is to “rethink the fundamental categoriesof ‘identity studies’” by introducing new methodologies and new empirical data. Thecore concepts, deriving from recent work by Peter Sahlins and James Scott aroundwhich the global research is based are concepts of ‘official identifications’ and‘vernacular identifications’. According to the project documents, these can be seen asreferring to the ways in which self-consciously ‘modern’ states have sought to defineidentities (e.g. ethnicity, modern-backwards, special groups, citizenship etc) and thecontrast with alternative identities arising from other sources and recognized or championed by other groups within society. Thus, official identifications arecontinually challenged and subverted by alternative identifications and by alternativeappropriations of state identifications for other purposes. This also implies thatidentities are continuously in motion and often are situationally defined, although itmust be recognized that some identities ‘stick’. This research then seeks to ask howare official and vernacular identifications established, how they come to have forceand resonance in society, and how they interact and conflict with each other,