This book would not have been possible without the support of many individuals and institutions. The Institute of Nationalities Studies of Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture in Xichang (research partner with the Institute of East Asian Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen) received the funding and equipment for the research project through a generous grant from the German Volkswagen Foundation. Moreover, four Yi scholars had the opportunity to receive further training in empirical research methods at the Institute of East Asian Studies in 2000 and 2001 through funding by the Volkswagen Foundation, which also funded my research trips to Liangshan.
Above all, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to my Yi colleagues at the Institute of Nationalities Studies, who worked with undoubted commitment and did their utmost to enable the implementation of this project on the ground. During our joint field research, they shared not only scholarly success and happy events with me, but also hardships and difficulties. Without their guidance, I would not have been able to understand many of the socioeconomic structures and processes in Liangshan. I am therefore very grateful to Luohong Zige (Luo Cong), director of the Institute, and his deputy, Mgebbu Lunzy (Ma Erzi), as well as senior research fellows Bajie Rihuo and Gaga Erri. I am also grateful to Li Jin and Dong Hongqing, two Han scholars from Liangshan Agricultural College who participated in our research, for their support. Wang Bin, from Meigu County, also contributed notably to the project. My sincere gratitude goes as well to the Party committees and governments of the counties of Butuo, Ganluo, Jinyang, Meigu, Mianning, Puge, Yanyuan, and Zhaojue, without whose support this research project could not have been so successfully managed. I am very grateful, too, to the large number of officials and entrepreneurs who, through their various efforts, facilitated the success of this research.
I would like to express special thanks to Stevan Harrell for his valuable comments and advice, and for the opportunity to publish this book in the series Studies on Ethnic Groups in China. Lorri Hagman at the University of Washington Press was particularly supportive and provided fruitful advice throughout the publishing process. Further thanks go to Timothy J. Gluckman, who translated most of the text from German into English, and especially to Victoria Polling who brought the English text into splendid form. Finally, I would like to thank Rene Trappel, Peter in der Heiden, Julian Schollmeyer, and Michael Petzold, who helped format the manuscript.
Duisburg, March 2007