Postsocialist Conditions

Ideas and History in China’s "Independent Cinema", 1988-2008


In Postsocialist Conditions: Idea and History in China’s “Independent Cinema,” 1988-2008, WANG Xiaoping offers a comprehensive survey and trenchant critique of China’s “Independent Cinema” by the sixth-generation auteurs. By showing the multi-valence of the postsocialist conditions in contemporary Chinese society, their films articulate a new cultural-political logic in postsocialist China, which is also the logic of the market in this era of neoliberal transformation, brought about by the forces of marketization since the late 1980s. The directors laudably show the spirits of humanism and the humanitarian concerns of the underclass, yet the shortage and repudiation of class analysis prohibits the artists from exploring the social contradictions and the cause of class restructuration.

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WANG Xiaoping, Ph.D. (2010), is Chair Professor of Chinese studies at Huaqiao University and Adjunct Professor of the Institute of Arts and Humanities of Shanghai Jiaotong University, China. He has published more than 100 articles and numerous monographs, including Ideology and Utopia in China’s New Wave Cinema: Globalization and Its Chinese Discontents (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).
List of Illustrations

Introduction: Articulating the Logic of China’s Postsocialist Society in the Era of Neo-Liberal Transformation

1 China in Transition: Jia Zhangke’s “Hometown Trilogy”

2 Postmodern Anomie or Postsocialist Alienation?

3 Problematic Narration of the Historical Experience of Working Class

4 Portraying the Abject and the Sublime of the Subaltern

5 Exhibiting the Confusion and Melancholy of Artists

6 Women’s Changing Destiny in the Post-Revolutionary Fantasyland

7 In the Name of Love: Ideology of the Elite Class

8 Whither China? Wang Chao’s “China Trilogy”

Conclusion: On the Historicity of the Sixth-Generation Auteurs and China’s “Independent” Cinema
Selected Bibliography
The intended audience includes but is not limited to university students (cultural studies, political scientists, sociologists, anthropologists, etc.) and general readers interested in contemporary Chinese politics, society and culture.