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Youth Cultures in China




Youth Cultures in China

Jeroen de Kloet, Anthony Y. H. Fung

ISBN: 978-0-745-67917-4 October 2016 Polity 240 Pages

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What does it mean to be young in a country that is changing so fast? What does it mean to be young in a place ruled by one Party, during a time of intense globalization and exposure to different cultures?

This fascinating and informative book explores the lives of Chinese youth and examines their experiences, the ways in which they are represented in the media, and their interactions with old and, especially, new media. The authors describe and analyze complex entanglements among family, school, workplace and the state, engaging with the multiplicity of Chinese youth cultures. Their case studies include, among others, the romantic fantasies articulated by pop idols in TV dramas in contrast with young students working hard for their entrance exams and dream careers.

This book will be essential reading for students and scholars of youth culture, the sociology of youth and China studies more broadly. By showing how Chinese youth negotiate these regimes by carving out their own temporary spaces – from becoming a goldfarmer in a virtual economy to performing as a cosplayer – this book ultimately poses the question: Will the current system be able to accommodate this rapidly increasing diversity?

  • Map
  • Chronology
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction: Youth in China
  • No More Revolution
  • Youth Scapes
  • Changing Youth Values
  • The Chapters
  • Creative Warfare
  • Chapter 1: Youth and Power: Education, Family, and the State
  • Introduction
  • Political Values and Party Membership
  • Family and Familism
  • Pedagogy and Education
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 2: Dressing up the Future: Chinese Youth Today
  • Introduction
  • Global Inauthenticities
  • Fashion Styles
  • Sonic Styles
  • Digital Styles
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 3: Localization of Regional Culture
  • Introduction
  • Localizing TV format from without
  • Regional TV Formats and Class Re-imagination
  • Running Man: The Turn to Gamification
  • Popular Music and Fandom
  • The Chinese AKB48: irrelevance to politics
  • TFBoys and Korean Imagination
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 4 Chinese Heteronormativity and Its Discontents
  • Introduction
  • Chinese Genders?
  • Heteronormative Aspirations I: Survey Findings
  • Heteronormative Aspirations II: Media Representations
  • Unsettling Heteronormativity I: Romance Comedy
  • Unsettling Heteronormativity II: Queer China
  • Unsettling Heteronormativity III: Sex and Feminism
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 5: Mobility, Marginalization and Desire
  • Introduction
  • Migrant Youth, Representation and Desire
  • Migrant Youth as Media Producers
  • Migrant Youth and New Media Technologies
  • Gaming and Immaterial Labour
  • Goldfarming versus Farming
  • From Village to Art Village: New Spaces and Mobility
  • Conclusion
  • Conclusion: Youth and Hope
  • References
“Using an innovative methodology including interviews and ethnographic studies, the authors have given us a complex study of youth cultures. They do an excellent job of examining important and understudied issues such as media representations of youth in contemporary popular and digital culture.”
Stanley Rosen, University of Southern California

“In this interrogation of the multiplicity of youth cultures in China, the authors ditch familiar stereotypes of China’s youth to explore how young urban people are charting challenging paths for China’s future. Based largely on ethnographic research, this book will appeal to non-specialist readers as well as students of contemporary Chinese culture and society.”
Harriet Evans, University of Westminster 

'A Sophisticated and erudite account of how appropriations and localisations of international digital technologies, music trends and fashion styles enable Chinese youth to experiment with “spontaneous” and “unpredictable” identities.'
Journal of Contemporary Asia