Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Misfortune and What Can Be Done About It

A Taiwanese Case Study

Charles Stafford

Keywords: agency; blame; China; fortune; misfortune; Taiwan

Drawing primarily on ethnographic material from Taiwan, this article focuses on misfortune and, more especially, on the ques- tion of whether people are felt to deserve what happens to them-be it bad or good. I examine the cases of several people who have suffered misfortune in life, exploring ways in which they might actively try to make good things happen as a way of convincing others, and indeed themselves, that they are, after all, good. In considering these cases, I discuss three intersecting accounts of fate that are widely held by ordi- nary people in Taiwan and China: a cosmological one, a spirit-oriented one, and a social one.

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or log in to access all content.