Steinmuller, Hans

Dr Hans Steinmuller  


Position held

Assistant Professor


Experience keywords:

China; gambling; irony; moralities and ethics; political and economic anthropology; post-socialism; ritual

Research summary > [Click to expand]

Hans Steinmuller is a specialist in the anthropology of China. He has conducted long-term fieldwork in the Enshi region of Hubei Province in central China, focusing on family, work, ritual, and the local state. The main objects of his research are the ethics of everyday life in rural China, but he has also written on topics such as gambling, rural development, and Chinese geomancy (fengshui). Recently he has started a new research project on craftsmanship and carpentry in central China.

Countries and regions to which research relates:

China; Zambia


Chinese [Spoken: Fluent, Written: Fluent]; French [Spoken: Intermediate, Written: Basic]; German [Spoken: Fluent, Written: Fluent]; Spanish [Spoken: Fluent, Written: Fluent]

Media experience:

Has written for mainstream press; Radio

Contact Points

LSE phone number:

+44 (0)20 7955 7214


Steinmüller, Hans and Tan, Tongxue (2015) Like a virgin?: hymen restoration operations in contemporary China Anthropology Today, 31 (2). 14-17. ISSN 0268-540X

Steinmüller, Hans (2015) Book review: humour in Chinese life and culture: resistance and control in modern times The China Journal (73). 246-248. ISSN 1324-9347

Steinmüller, Hans (2015) Father Mao and the country-family: mixed emotions for fathers, officials, and leaders in China Social Analysis: The International Journal of Social and Cultural Practice, 59 (4). 1-19. ISSN 0155-977X

Steinmüller, Hans and Brandtstädter, Susanne, eds (2015) Irony, cynicism and the Chinese state Routledge contemporary China series. Routledge, London, UK. ISBN 9781138943148 (In Press)


Steinmüller, Hans (2014) Book review: drink water, but remember the source: moral discourse in a Chinese village Études Chinoises, 32 (2). 195-197.

Steinmüller, Hans (2014) A minimal definition of cynicism: everyday social criticism and some meanings of 'life' in contemporary China Anthropology of This Century (11). ISSN 2047-6345

Steinmüller, Hans (2014) China’s growing influence in Latin America In: South America, Central America and the Caribbean 2015. The Europa regional surveys of the world. Routledge, Abingdon, UK, 19-22. ISBN 9781857437331


Steinmüller, Hans (2013) The ethics of irony: work, family and fatherland in rural China In: Stafford, Charles, (ed.) Ordinary Ethics in China. LSE monographs on social anthropology. Bloomsbury, London, UK. ISBN 9780857854599

Steinmüller, Hans (2013) Research ethics and everyday ethics: doing fieldwork with observers of their own ‘culture’ in rural Hubei LSE Field Research Method Lab blog (5 Dec 2013) Blog entry

Steinmüller, Hans (2013) Communities of complicity: everyday ethics in rural China Berghahn Books, New York, USA. ISBN 9780857458902

Steinmüller, Hans (2013) Le savoir-rire en Chine Terrain: Revue d'ethnologie de L'europe, 61 (2). 40-53. ISSN 1777-5450


Steinmüller, Hans (2012) Book review: China and postsocialist anthropology: theorizing power and society after communism - by Andrew Kipnis Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 18 (2). 481-483. ISSN 1359-0987


Steinmüller, Hans and Fei, Wu (2011) School killings in China: society or wilderness? Anthropology Today, 27 (1). 10-13. ISSN 1467-8322

Steinmüller, Hans (2011) The state of irony in China Critique of Anthropology, 31 (1). 21-42. ISSN 0308-275X

Steinmüller, Hans (2011) The moving boundaries of social heat: gambling in rural China Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 17 (2). 263-280. ISSN 1359-0987

Steinmüller, Hans (2011) The reflective peephole method: ruralism and awkwardness in the ethnography of rural China Australian Journal of Anthropology, 22 (2). 220-235. ISSN 1757-6547


Steinmüller, Hans (2010) Communities of complicity: notes on state formation and local sociality in rural China American Ethnologist, 37 (3). 539-549. ISSN 0094-0496

Steinmüller, Hans (2010) How popular Confucianism became embarrassing: on the spatial and moral centre of the house in rural China Focaal: Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology, 2010 (58). 81-96. ISSN 0920-1297

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