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Mainstream Culture RefocusedTelevision Drama, Society, and the Production of Meaning in Reform-Era China$
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Xueping Zhong

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780824834173

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834173.001.0001

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Mainstream Culture Refocused

Mainstream Culture Refocused

Toward an Understanding of Chinese Television Drama

(p.1) Introduction Mainstream Culture Refocused
Mainstream Culture Refocused

Xueping Zhong

University of Hawai'i Press

This introductory chapter first highlights the “fate” of Chinese mainstream culture and debates about it in the West, with a brief observation about their own sociocultural particularities. It argues for a need to move beyond the existing mode of state–market dichotomy in order to arrive at a historically informed understanding of the production of contemporary Chinese mainstream culture in general and television drama in particular. The chapter then sets out four seemingly straightforward terms—television set (dianshi ji), television industry (dianshi chanye), television culture (dianshi wenhua), and television drama (dianshiju)—in order to both focus and expand the discussion regarding the relationship between state and market forces and cultural production. These four terms indicate television’s role among “global” and globalizing technology-aided cultural phenomena, but they are also socially and historically particular to modern and contemporary Chinese history, rich with specific implications. They illustrate the complex relationship between the state and the collective imaginary of “modernization” shared by different social groups, and between the state and different players who have participated in the development of television culture as mainstream popular culture in ways specific to the social characteristics in contemporary China.

Keywords:   dianshiju, Chinese television dramas, Chinese mainstream culture, popular culture, modernization, cultural production, television culture

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