Men and Masculinities in Contemporary China


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In Men and Masculinities in Contemporary China, Geng Song and Derek Hird offer an account of Chinese masculinities in media discourse and everyday life, covering masculinities on television, in lifestyle magazines, in cyberspace, at work, at leisure, and at home. No other work covers the forms and practices of men and masculinities in contemporary China so comprehensively. Through carefully exploring the global, regional and local influences on men and representations of men in postmillennial China, Song and Hird show that Chinese masculinity is anything but monolithic. They reveal a complex, shifting plurality of men and masculinities—from stay-at-home internet geeks to karaoke-singing, relationship-building businessmen—which contest and consolidate “conventional” notions of masculinity in multiple ways.

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Geng Song, Ph.D. (2000), University of Hong Kong, is Associate Professor of China Studies and Translation Studies at that university. Among his publications are The Fragile Scholar (HKU Press, 2004) and Rethinking Chinese Television (Routledge, forthcoming).

Derek Hird, Ph.D. (2009), University of Westminster, is Lecturer in Chinese and Research Fellow in Asian Studies at that university. He has published several articles on Chinese men and masculinities, mostly with a focus on white-collar men.
"The authors of this book - a humanistic scholar and a social scientist - have produced a theoretically sophisticated analysis of contemporary Chinese masculinities. Solidly grounded in China's everyday life, the book ranges across media and through diverse social contexts. I strongly recommend it."
Professor Kam Louie, University of Hong Kong

"[Song and Hird] have provided a critical analysis of the gender roles and narratives of men in China.[...]the authors presented a clear depiction of the complex and often conflicting roles for Chinese men in multiple contexts of their lives.[...]I expect students, scholars, and researchers alike to find Men and Masculinities in Contemporary China accessible and very useful. Most certainly, Song and Hird have contributed significant scholarship to the critical study of gender from Chinese and international perspectives."
Jennifer Chain, University of Oregon, African and Asian Studies 13.1-2 (2014)

"Men and Masculinities in Contemporary China provides a much-needed synthesis of recent work on masculinity in the contemporary PRC and offers multiple original contributions based on the authors’ own analyses of contemporary media discourses and representations as well as their interviews with dozens of Chinese men and women."
John Osburg, University of Rochester, Nan Nü 16-2 (2014)

“The authors of this book provide a fascinating and multi-faceted description of narratives and self-narratives of ‘masculinities’ in contemporary China. They employ a variety of approaches ranging from a media-based discourse analysis […]to an anthropologically-oriented approach in their chapters ”
Jens Damm, Chang Jung University, Tainan, Taiwan, 1-3"

"Impressive in its depth and complexity, this book stands as a critical entry point into studies of men's identities and practices in present-day China. In short, to write a compelling and coherent book on a topic as broad and diffuse as masculinity would alone be a notable achievement; to do so in a way that not only respects but embraces the contingencies, the multiplicity, and the heterogeneity inherent to this topic is more impressive still."
Andrew Lea, Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific, Issue 37, March 2015.

"The authors, Geng Song and Derek Hird, provide a thought provoking analysis of the contradictions, instability, and fluidity of both lived and virtual [re]presentation(s) of contemporary men and masculinities in China. [...] Through ethnographies, qualitative interviews, literary studies, and discourse analysis, this book reveals the nuances, contradictions, and complexities of manhood in China [and] contributes to an understanding of ‘nonwestern’ masculinities and adds to a burgeoning discourse of ‘global masculinities.’"
Trevor McArthur, Stellenbosch University, NORMA: International Journal of Masculinity Studies, 10:2, July 2015.

"Men and Masculinities in Contemporary China provides a valuable guide to the new configurations of manhood that have emerged in urban China over the past couple of decades of explosive economic growth and dizzying social change. The authors’ focus is on the ideals and images that influence white-collar men’s self-perceptions and self-fashioning in the postsocialist world of work and consumption."
Matthew H. Sommer, Stanford University, Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review, September 2015.

"[...] what Song and Hird foregound in the book is that, with rapid social transformation and the rise of commercialization, men in China face new challenges regarding what 'ideal manhood' means. The authors succeed in demonstrating the coexisting but often conflicted demands men face, and their analyses offer interseting ways to understand the changes and challenges." Xueping Zhong, Tufts University, "The China Journal, No. 75.
Introduction: Chinese Masculinity: Is There Such a Thing?
1 Masculinities on Television
2 Masculinities in Lifestyle Magazines
3 Masculinities in Cyberspace
4 Masculinities at Work
5 Masculinities at Leisure
6 Masculinities at Home
Epilogue: Performing Manhood in Contemporary China
Undergraduate and postgraduate students and researchers with an interest in Chinese gender studies, critical studies on men and masculinities, and contemporary Chinese and Asian cultural studies.
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