Family Revolution: Marital Strife in Contemporary Chinese Literature and Visual Culture (Paperback)Hui Faye Xiao (author)
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As state control of private life in China has loosened since 1980, citizens have experienced an unprecedented family revolution-an overhaul of family structure, marital practices, and gender relationships. While the nuclear family has become a privileged realm of romance and individualism symbolizing the post-revolutionary "freedoms" of economic and affective autonomy, women's roles in particular have been transformed, with the ideal "iron girl" of socialism replaced by the feminine, family-oriented "good wife and wise mother."
Problems and contradictions in this new domestic culture have been exposed by China's soaring divorce rate. Reading popular "divorce narratives" in fiction, film, and TV drama, Hui Faye Xiao shows that the representation of marital discord has become a cultural battleground for competing ideologies within post-revolutionary China. While these narratives present women's cultivation of wifely and maternal qualities as the cure for family disintegration and social unrest, Xiao shows that they in fact reflect a problematic resurgence of traditional gender roles and a powerful mode of control over supposedly autonomous private life.
Publisher: University of Washington Press
Number of pages: 224
Weight: 363 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
For those who do not study contemporary China or for those who need English translations or subtitles to gain access to these stories and films, this book is a gold mine....[B]ecause Xiao so frequently engages European social theory and film criticism, the book addresses the urgent need to integrate Chinese experiences and analyses into intellectual discourse that focuses primarily on the literature and films of the Americas and Europe.-- Deborah Davis * Journal of Asian Studies *
Hui Faye Xiao makes a significant contribution to recent scholarship on the cultural representation of marital strife in contemporary China....Combining insightful aesthetic understanding of literature and visual culture with a savvy engagement of knowledge from sociology and cultural anthropology, Xiao's book presents important scholarship on the gendered reading of postsocialist Chinese modernity with a genealogical approach.-- Yipeng Shen * Modern Chinese Literature and Culture *
Through the lense of divorce narratives in literature and visual culture, the book produces an in-depth cultural study of the 'family revolution' in the People's Republic of China between 1980 and 2010.... Divorce culture, as [Xiao's] skillful reading shows, reveals postsocialist subjects' eager desire to move forward to a utopic future, but it always fails to deliver in reality.... Family Revolution is a well-researched book with a coherent structure, theoretically informed arguments, and intriguing close reading, making it a wonderful addition to the scholarship on postsocialist Chinese culture and/or Chinese women's and gender studies.-- Ping Zhu * H-Asia (H-Net) *
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