Institute of Archaeology


Linjie Wang

Community Participation and Governmentality: Ethnographic Research on the Making of Baiku Yao Ethnic Minority Intangible Cultural Heritage in Southwest China

Portrait of Linjie Wang

Email: linjie.wang.20@ucl.ac.uk

Section: Heritage Studies



As an ethnic minority group ‘directly-entering-socialism’ and still maintaining its rich traditional way of life, Baiku Yao (BKY) is described as a ‘Living Fossil’ by Chinese mainstream media and local governments. Following the Intangible Cultural Heritage boom and the ‘Carnival’ of comprehensive ‘Heritagization’ of traditional culture in China in the past twenty years, BKY, as one of the sub-tribes of the Yao, has also been experiencing the ‘heritagization turn’ of ‘modernity.’

My project, taking BKY culture as an ethnographic case study, explores how traditional culture has been heritagized by state actors as intangible cultural heritage, and in turn, how and to what ends BKY people have strategically engaged with state-led heritagization processes as part of their own efforts to conserve and continue making their culture.

This doctoral fieldwork was conducted over 24 months and applied anthropological participant observation research methods in Guangxi, Guizhou, and Yunnan, China. The thesis will discuss the ICH-making process of the BKY through studying China’s ICH policymaking and implementation, the practices of the BKY ethnic eco-museum and its Cultural Memory Project, and the village ethnographic documentary making and social media (Kuaishou 快手) posting.


  • Sandander Mobility Awards
  • The Elisabeth Croll Scholarship for fieldwork in China


    • BA, Journalism Studies, Communication University of China, 2008
    • MA, Anthropology of media, SOAS London of University, 2017
    • MRes, Social Anthropology , SOAS London of University, 2018


    Wang, Linjie (2012) the Social Responsibility of the Modern Journalist in China, in the special collection of the Marxist Concept of News and Professional Ethics, China.  


    Wang, Linjie (2020) The New World of the BaiKu Yao, in Anthropology and Geography: Dialogues Past, Present and Future, RAI, London.