Public Secrets, Public Spaces: Cinema and Civility in China

Overview

Cinema produces an imaginary space where audiences can make themselves visible in public, share ideas and criticisms, and establish their identity as part of a transitory but nonetheless satisfying cultural body. Public Secrets, Public Spaces explores the possibility of symbolic public space in the context of Chinese cinema. Focusing especially on women, children, and the dispossessed, Stephanie Donald looks at the ways public space is constructed and occupied, both in the Chinese cultural sphere and in the world...

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Overview

Cinema produces an imaginary space where audiences can make themselves visible in public, share ideas and criticisms, and establish their identity as part of a transitory but nonetheless satisfying cultural body. Public Secrets, Public Spaces explores the possibility of symbolic public space in the context of Chinese cinema. Focusing especially on women, children, and the dispossessed, Stephanie Donald looks at the ways public space is constructed and occupied, both in the Chinese cultural sphere and in the world of international audiences. Drawing on the debate over civil society, the author argues that traditional concepts of public sphere and civil society are unlikely to apply to contemporary China, yet there may be common elements that do move across and between cultural and political boundaries. Civility is one such element, built up of culturally specific virtues and relationships that form the public secrets of social survival. Public secrets are the unstated common-sense knowledges of everyday life, extraordinary to those who are not initiated into the routines of a particular cultural place and space. In traditional societies public secrets are organized through observable ritual, while in modern societies they are embedded in the cultural discourse of the routine and the everyday. As we see in this provocative book, film offers a rich medium for unearthing these secrets.

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Editorial Reviews

The Australian Journal Of Anthropology
This book is theoretically sophisticated and draws from impressively diverse disciplines, including anthropology, gender and feminist studies, screen studies, communication, and China studies. Also worthy of note is the author's thoughtfulness and self-reflectivity in terms of her own cultural positioning, hew relationships to film texts, as well as analytical methods adopted. The emphasis on publicness which runs throughout the book adds an important dimension to the literature on Chinese cinema. The book should be of interest to researchers and postgraduate students working in the areas of cinema studies, media studies, Chinese studies, feminist studies, cultural studies, and cultural anthropology.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780847698769
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/28/2000
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.96 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephanie Donald is professor of Chinese media studies, University of Sydney.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Form and Content Chapter 2 Seeing White Chapter 3 Childhood and Public Discourse Chapter 4 National Publicness Chapter 5 Authenticity and Silence Chapter 6 Transnational Publics and Radical Chic Chapter 7 Urban Spaces and Alternative Publics

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