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Title:Encountering Globalization: An Ethnographic Study of Women and Television in China
Author(s):Xu, Hua
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Press, Andrea L.
Department / Program:Communications
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Anthropology, Cultural
Abstract:In post-Mao China, television has become an embodiment of struggle and negotiation between diverse forces in society. In the wake of the penetration of global capital and media culture, state discourse and popular culture images have been redefining an ideal Chinese womanhood in the context of changing gender dynamics in society. This dissertation investigates the relationship between television and women audiences at different socioeconomic positions in contemporary China. It is based on ethnographic researches undertaken in 1997 and 1998 in the city of Chengdu and the town of Meishan. Through in-depth interviews and observations with thirty-two women television viewers aged 17 to 56, the author found a mixture of resistance and complicity, and different combinations of acceptance and denial toward elements of global consumer culture. While both the younger and older generations realize the distance between their own environment and the modern lifestyles displayed in television contents such as advertisements, TV shopping programs and imported serial dramas, they anticipate differently how the power of globalization will impact their lives. Women are exploring, negotiating, and redefining the meanings of femininity, sexuality, and upward mobility in the transnational flow of commodities and images between China and the West. In negotiating the demands of modernization and their individual desires awakened by it, women have to make strategic choices and compromises. The articulation of this yearning for empowerment is often manifested in an ideal Chinese version of middle-class womanhood. Through their television viewing practices, women build their sense of femininity consisting of hybrid contents, as part of their self-identities as modern Chinese women. While their efforts are usually contained within the constraints of existing gender politics, these women are nevertheless carving a space beyond existing limited codes for ideal womanliness in Chinese society. This study illustrates the complexity of women's agency in their active engagement with modernity as well as their contradictory search for autonomy at the intersection of local and global cultures.
Issue Date:2002
Description:220 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2002.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3044264
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2002

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