Desiring China Experiments in Neoliberalism, Sexuality, and Public Culture

ISBN-10: 0822339471
ISBN-13: 9780822339472
Edition: 2007 (Annotated)
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Description: Through window displays, newspapers, soap operas, gay bars, and other public culture venues, Chinese citizens are negotiating what it means to be cosmopolitan citizens of the world, with appropriate needs, aspirations, and longings. Lisa Rofel  More...

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Book details

List price: $25.95
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: Duke University Press
Publication date: 5/10/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 264
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.836
Language: English

Through window displays, newspapers, soap operas, gay bars, and other public culture venues, Chinese citizens are negotiating what it means to be cosmopolitan citizens of the world, with appropriate needs, aspirations, and longings. Lisa Rofel argues that the creation of such "desiring subjects" is at the core of China's contingent, piece-by-piece reconfiguration of its relationship to a post-socialist world. In a study at once ethnographic, historical, and theoretical, she contends that neoliberal subjectivities are created through the production of various desires--material, sexual, and affective--and that it is largely through their engagements with public culture that people in China are imagining and practicing appropriate desires for the post-Mao era. Drawing on her research over the past two decades among urban residents and rural migrants in Hangzhou and Beijing, Rofel analyzes the meanings that individuals attach to various public cultural phenomena and what their interpretations say about their understandings of post-socialist China and their roles within it. She locates the first broad-based public debate about post-Mao social changes in the passionate dialogues about the popular 1991 television soap opera "Yearnings," She describes how the emergence of gay identities and practices in China reveals connections to a transnational network of lesbians and gay men at the same time that it brings urban/rural and class divisions to the fore. The 1999-2001 negotiations over China's entry into the World Trade Organization; a controversial women's museum; the ways that young single women portray their longings in relation to the privations they imagine their mothers experienced;adjudications of the limits of self-interest in court cases related to homoerotic desire, intellectual property, and consumer fraud--Rofel reveals all of these as sites where desiring subjects come into being.

Judith Halberstam is Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. She is the author of In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives, Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters , Female Masculinity and co-author with Del LaGrace Volcano of The Drag King Book.

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Yearnings: Televisual Love and Melodramatic Politics
Museum as Women's Space: Displays of Gender
Qualities of Desire: Imagining Gay Identities
From Sacrifice to Desire: Cosmopolitanism with Chinese Characteristics
Legislating Desire: Homosexuality, Intellectual Property Rights, and Consumer Fraud
Desiring China: China's Entry into the WTO
Coda
Notes
Works Cited
Index

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