To trace the complex “passion for meaning” (Barthes) that animated the consumption and interpretation of Yearnings, a television melodrama that aired in China just a year and a half after the Tiananmen demonstrations, requires moving beyond a dichotomy between “the political” and “the popular.” This article argues that Yearnings became a nationwide controversy because it allegorizes post-Tiananmen dilemmas of national identity in relation to socialism and in relation to the diverse class and gender positionings of the characters as well as the viewers. Textualist and reader-response analyses of popular culture need to be broadened by an ethnographic approach that asks sociodiscursive questions about the operations of popular culture as a site for the constitution of national subjects, one that offers complicated possibilities for oppositional practices. [China, national identity, popular culture, gender and class, politics of representations, the state]
If you can't find a tool you're looking for, please click the link at the top of the page to "Go to old article view". Alternatively, view our Knowledge Base articles for additional help. Your feedback is important to us, so please let us know if you have comments or ideas for improvement.