Peasant Family Happiness
Original title 农家乐, Nong Jia Le
Tourism, in China today, signifies many things. To the Chinese state, tourism is an opportunity to promote rural development and domestic spending. To tourists, it is the epitome of middle-class leisure and prosperity. And for others, tourism is a means for employment and economic stability. 农家乐 Peasant Family Happiness depicts the everyday experience of “doing tourism” in two rural, ethnic tourism destinations in China. In Ping’an and Upper Jidao villages, residents negotiate between the day-to-day consequences of tourist arrivals and ideal projections of who they are and their own life goals. Questions of “authenticity” are rendered secondary to, yet not entirely subsumed by, market imperatives. Culture and identity remain important for sustaining community in ways that reveal just how much labor goes into creating leisure experiences. This film was shot over three years, as a part of a larger anthropological project on rural social transformation in contemporary China.
Author/s Jenny Chio
Jenny Chio teaches cultural and visual anthropology at Emory University. Her research focuses on modernity, ethnicity, and media practices in rural China. She is also engaged in a collaborative project on independent Chinese documentary. Her film, 农家乐 Peasant Family Happiness, is the winner of the 2013 David Plath Media Prize, awarded by the Society for East Asian Anthropology. Her ethnographic monograph, A Landscape of Travel: The Work of Tourism in Rural Ethnic China, is forthcoming in 2014.
Research Jenny Chio
Photography Jenny Chio
Sound Jenny Chio
Editing Jenny Chio