We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University



Publication details for Dr Samuel Horlor

Horlor, Samuel (2019). Neutralizing Temporary Inequities in Moral Status: Chinese Street Singers and the Gift Economy. Asian Music 50(2): 3-32.

Author(s) from Durham


The cash tips that audience members offer to singers are a central part of the informal performances of popular songs held daily in public spaces of Wuhan, China. The singing, plus various forms of attention and material offerings, temporarily raise performers' moral status over that of audience members, inspiring reciprocal obligations that are neutralized by the giving of cash. By understanding the money as gifts rather than as part of transactions, the article explores the interpersonal dimensions of economic dealings around the music. Reciprocal obligations, rather than notions of collective belonging, are the main focal point for social meaning here.