The construction of nostalgia in screen media in the context of postsocialist China

Gu, Zhun (2019) The construction of nostalgia in screen media in the context of postsocialist China. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis explores how different forms of nostalgia have been constructed by various forms of screen media in China since the 1990s. Textual analysis of media languages and structures and discourse analysis of the Chinese government’s economic-politics are used to examine the relationship between screen nostalgia, the influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), China’s neoliberalist capitalism, and China’s media internationalisation.

In order to examine the complex relationship between socio-economic and political contexts and nostalgic screen cultures produced by various generations of producers and presented in different formats of screen media, this thesis will investigate diverse forms of screen media texts in film, Internet drama and TV documentary. The following screen media texts are chosen: five feature films, A Mongolian Tale (Xie Fei, 1995), Nuan (Huo Jianqi, 2003), Shower (Zhang Yang, 1999), 24 City (Jia Zhangke, 2008), and So Young (Zhao Wei, 2013); one Internet drama, With You (Liu Chang, 2016); and two television documentaries A Bite of China (Chen Xiaoqing, 2012) and Maritime Silk Road (Zhang Wei, 2016).

This thesis identifies that a culture of nostalgia has emerged in China in the past three decades, and this is strongly manifested in different media forms and genres and across different generations. The nostalgic culture speaks to, or engages with, China’s postsocialist condition and social changes, including the urban-rural divide, urbanisation, commercialisation, and youth experience, as well as China’s domestic and international policies. Overall, through examining various forms of nostalgia constructed by different forms of screen media, this thesis argues that nostalgia culture has changed, from filmmakers’ intellectual and critical engagements with China’s postsocialist condition to its co-option by the Chinese government and screen media industry for political and commercial gains over the past few decades.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Grainge, Paul
Bao, Hongwei
Keywords: nostalgia, Chinese screen media, postsocialism, modernity, Chineseness
Subjects: P Language and literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion pictures
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies
Item ID: 59053
Depositing User: Gu, Zhun
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2020 08:54
Last Modified: 06 May 2020 09:33

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