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Happiness is on China’s agenda. From Xi Jinping’s “Chinese Dream” to online chat forums, the conspicuous references to happiness are hard to miss. This groundbreaking volume analyzes how different social groups make use of the concept and shows how closely official discourses on happiness are intertwined with popular sentiments. The Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to define happiness and well-being around family-focused Han Chinese cultural traditions clearly strike a chord with the wider population. The collection highlights the links connecting the ideologies promoted by the government and the way they inform, and are in turn informed by, various deliberations and feelings circulating in the society.
Contributors analyze the government’s “happiness maximization strategies,” including public service advertising campaigns, Confucian and Daoist-inflected discourses adapted for the self-help market, and the promotion of positive psychology as well as “happy housewives.” They also discuss forces countering the hegemonic discourse: different forms of happiness in the LGBTQ community, teachings of Tibetan Buddhism that subvert the material culture propagated by the government, and the cynical messages in online novels that expose the fictitious nature of propaganda. Collectively, the authors bring out contemporary Chinese voices engaging with different philosophies, practices, and idealistic imaginings on what it means to be happy.
This is the first book-length study of the development of civility in Chinese societies. Although some social scientists and political philosophers have discussed civility, none has defined it as an analytical tool to systematically measure attitudes and behavior, and few have applied it to a non-Western society. By comparing the development of civility in mainland China and Taiwan, Civility and Its Development: The Experiences of China and Taiwan analyzes the social conditions needed for civility to become established in a society. Schak argues that the attempts to impose civility top-down from the state are ineffective. Civility appeared in Taiwan only after state efforts to impose it ceased at the end of the 1980s when Taiwan began to democratize, and the PRC government civility campaigns have so far had only limited success. The book concludes with an examination of various differences between Taiwan and the PRC relevant to Taiwan’s having become a society with civility while the PRC still encounters difficulties in doing so. The essential factor in developing civility in Taiwan, Schak contends, was its evolution from a place composed of myriad small, inward-looking communities to a society in which everyone shares a strong identity and civic consciousness, and people consider others as fellow members, not anonymous strangers
Although official propaganda emphasizes the Chinese Dream as the dream of all Chinese, the opportunities of achieving prosperity by legal means are distributed unequally. Crime and the Chinese Dream reveals how people on the margins of Chinese society find their way to the Chinese Dream through illegal or deviant behaviors. The case studies in this book include corrupt doctors in public hospitals in Beijing, fraudsters in a village called “cake uncles,” illegal motorcycle taxi drivers in Guangzhou, drug users being “reeducated” in detention centers, and internet addicts who are treated as criminals by the system. Despite the patriotic and collectivistic tint of the official dream metaphor, the contributors to this volume show that the Chinese Dream is essentially a state capitalist dream, which is embedded within the problems and opportunities of capitalism, as well as a dream of control.
The “ASEAN Way” is based on the principle of consensus; any individual member state effectively has a veto over any proposal with which it disagrees. Dividing ASEAN and Conquering the South China Sea analyzes how China uses its influence to divide ASEAN countries in order to prevent them from acting collectively to resolve their territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea. Using comparative case studies of China’s relations with Cambodia, the Philippines, and Myanmar, O’Neill argues that the regime type in the country with which China is interacting plays an important role in enhancing or constraining China’s ability to influence the governments of developing states within ASEAN and globally. Authoritarian institutions facilitate Chinese influence while democratic institutions inhibit that influence.
O’Neill argues that as long as ASEAN includes developing, authoritarian regimes, and given that the United States and other global powers are unlikely to risk any serious conflict over each push of China’s maritime boundaries, little by little, China will assert its sovereignty over the South China Sea. Nevertheless, noting the long-term, global trend of states democratizing, he contends that if China chooses to engage in more sophisticated bilateral politics, such as providing incentives to a broader range of interest groups in democratic states, then China will have more success in projecting its power globally
Writing academic prose in English is especially difficult for nonnative speakers, largely because the standard vocabulary used in this genre can be quite different from colloquial English. Expand Your English: A Guide to Improving Your Academic Vocabulary is a unique and invaluable guide that will enable the reader to overcome this hurdle. It will become the favorite go-to reference book for both beginners and intermediate learners struggling with the complexities of English-language academic writing. Steve Hart covers 1,000 vocabulary items that are essential for good academic writing. The first section describes 200 key terms in detail, grouping them into logical sets of 10. Through careful repetition, the reader will find it easy to retain, retrieve, and reuse these essential phrases. The second section explains a further 800 terms, grouping them according to function, meaning, and the areas of an essay where they are likely to be used. The expansive scope of Expand Your English gives non-native speakers all the vocabulary tools they need to master this difficult style of writing.
Staging Revolution refutes the deep-rooted notion that art overtly in the service of politics is by definition devoid of artistic merit. As a prominent component shaping the culture of the Cultural Revolution, model Beijing Opera (jingju) is the epitome of art used for political ends. Arguing against commonly accepted interpretations, Xing Fan demonstrates that in a performance of model jingju, political messages could only be realized through the most rigorously formulated artistic choices and conveyed by performers possessing exceptional techniques.Fan contextualizes model jingju at the intersection of history, artistry, and aesthetics. Integral to jingju’s interactions with politics are the practitioners’ constant artistic experimentation to accommodate the modern stories and characters within the jingju framework and the eventual formation of a new sense of beauty. Therefore, a thorough understanding of model jingju demands close attention to how the artists resolved actual production problems, which is a critical perspective missing in earlier studies. This book provides exactly this much-needed dimension of analysis by scrutinizing the decisions made in the real, practical context of bringing dramatic characters to life on stage and by examining how major artistic elements interacted with one other, sometimes harmoniously, sometimes antagonistically. Such an approach necessarily places jingju artists center stage. Making use of first-person accounts of the creative process, including numerous interviews conducted by the author, Fan presents a new appreciation of a lived experience that, on a harrowing journey of coping with political interference, was also filled with inspiration and excitement.
The Cosmopolitan Dream presents the broad patterns in the transformations of mainland Chinese masculinity over recent years, covering both representations (in film, fiction, and on television) and the lived experiences of Chinese men on four continents. Exposure to transnational influences has made Chinese notions of masculinity more cosmopolitan than ever before, yet the configurations of these hybrid masculinities retain the imprint of Chinese historical models.
With the increasing interconnectivity of markets around the world, the hegemonic mode of manhood is now a highly mobile transnational business form of masculinity. However, the fusion of this kind of cosmopolitanism with Chinese characteristics has not diminished the conventional class and gender privileges for educated men. On the other hand, the traditionally prized intellectual masculinity in Chinese culture, which did not hold commerce in high regard, has reconciled with today’s business values. Together these factors shape the outlook of the contemporary generation of Chinese elites. At the same time globalization has increased the cross-country mobility of blue-collar Chinese men, who may possess a masculine ideal that is different from their white-collar counterparts. Therefore it is important to examine various types of masculinity with the recent, reform-era mainland Chinese migration. The migrant man—whether he is a worker, student, pop idol, or writer (all cases studied in this volume)—could face challenges to his masculinity based on his race, class, intimate partners, or fatherhood. The strategies adopted by the Chinese men to reinvent their masculine identities in these stories offer much insight into the complex connections between masculinity and the rapid socioeconomic developments of postsocialist China