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Using ingenious research methods, the contributors to this book explore the search for meaning among ordinary people in China today. The subjects of these vivid essays span the social spectrum from hip young entrepreneurs to sweatshop workers and homeless beggars. The issues are equally diverse, ranging from domestic violence to homosexuality to political corruption. The culture of popular China emerges as a mixture of exhilarating new aspirations—as seen in the basketball fans who dream of "flying" like Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant; rueful cynicism—as bitingly conveyed in the many satirical jingles that circulate by word of mouth; and painful ambivalence. The people depicted here have built their popular culture out of ideas and symbolic practices drawn from old cultural traditions, from concepts about modernity debated during the early twentieth-century republican era, from the legacies of Maoist socialism, and from contemporary global culture. Throughout, the book shows how economic and social changes caused by globalization, in combination with the continuing Party dictatorship, have presented ordinary Chinese with a new array of moral and cultural challenges that they have met in ways that have changed the face of China.
Contributions by: Julia F. Andrews, Anita Chan, Deborah S. Davis, Leila Fernández-Stembridge, Robert Geyer, Amy Hanser, Richard Levy, Perry Link, Richard P. Madsen, Andrew Morris, Paul G. Pickowicz, Kuiyi Shen, Liping Wang, Li Zhang, Yuezhi Zhao, and Kate Zhou.
Chapter 1: "I Believe You Can Fly": Basketball Culture in Postsocialist China
Chapter 2: Corruption in Popular Culture
Chapter 3: Village Voices, Urban Activists: Women, Violence, and Gender Inequality in Rural China
Chapter 4: Shunkouliu: Popular Satirical Sayings and Popular Thought
Chapter 5: The Rich, the Laid-off, and the Criminal in Tabloid Tales: Read All About Them!
Chapter 6: The New Chinese Woman and Lifestyle Magazines in the Late 1990s
Chapter 7: The Culture of Survival: Lives of Migrant Workers through the Prism of Private Letters
Chapter 8: The Chinese Enterprising Self: Young, Educated Urbanites and the Search for Work
Chapter 9: Beggars in the Socialist Market Economy
Chapter 10: When a House Becomes His Home
Chapter 11: In Love and Gay
Chapter 12: Urban Experiences and Social Belonging among Chinese Rural Migrants