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Uneven ModernityLiterature, Film, and Intellectual Discourse in Postsocialist China$
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Haomin Gong

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835316

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835316.001.0001

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Popularization of Traditional Culture in Postsocialist China

Popularization of Traditional Culture in Postsocialist China

A Study of the Yu Qiuyu Phenomenon

Chapter:
(p.32) Chapter 2 Popularization of Traditional Culture in Postsocialist China
Source:
Uneven Modernity
Author(s):

Haomin Gong

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824835316.003.0003

This chapter examines the popularization of traditional culture in postsocialist China by focusing on the Yu Qiuyu Phenomenon. Yu Qiuyu is a prose writer who also lives as a cultural symbol, a cultural phenomenon of an age—what we call the Yu Qiuyu Phenomenon. This chapter first discusses Yu Qiuyu's 1992 book Bitter Journeys in Culture in relation to the 1988 TV series Deathsong of the River, popular culture, and cultural nationalism. It then introduces the idea of aestheticization of economics to characterize the relationship between cultural production and political economy and goes on to consider the role of media and mediation in reshaping the ecology of cultural production and consumption. It also highlights the paradoxical cultural logic underlying Yu Qiuyu's cultural prose writing: while he embodies such elitist concepts as culture, tradition, and intellectual, he himself is being commercialized and mediatized and becomes an intellectual celebrity precisely due to his well-packaged elitism.

Keywords:   traditional culture, postsocialist China, Yu Qiuyu, prose, cultural production, political economy, popular culture, cultural nationalism, media, elitism

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