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Drawing on Sani embroidery traders’ life experiences collected through in-depth fieldwork in Shilin, Yunnan Province, China, I found that inspired by the new economic opportunity of neoliberalism and cultural commoditization, an increasing number of Sani females are presently participating in embroidery trade in order to reach their goals and pursue better lives. This paper contends that Bourdieu’s concept of cultural capital is limited in that he did not take gender into account, and rarely considered women as capital-accumulating subjects. In investigating the Sani female embroidery traders’ trading practices, this paper argued that Sani embroidery traders are not only able to actively acquire and improve their gendered cultural capital but also able to convert it into symbolic capital to defend their legitimate position in the household and in society. This is further represented by the word “lacao”, which refers to an ideal woman, emphasizing her economic contributions to the family, hard-working virtue, and ability to take care of her household.
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