1st Edition

China’s Youth Cultures and Collective Spaces Creativity, Sociality, Identity and Resistance

Edited By Vanessa Frangville, Gwennaël Gaffric Copyright 2020
    276 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    276 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Presenting the collaborative work of 13 international specialists of contemporary Chinese culture and society, this book explores the spaces of creation, production, and diffusion of "youth cultures" in China among generations born since the 1980s.

    Defining the concept of "youth culture" as practices and activities that catalyze self-expression and creativity, this book investigates the emergence of new physical spaces, including large avenues, parks, shopping malls, and recreation areas. Building on this, it also examines the influence of non-physical places, especially digital cultures, such as online social networks, shopping platforms, Cosplay, cyberliterature, and digital calligraphy and argues that these may in fact play a more significant role in Chinese civil society today.

    As an exploration of how youth can be creative even in a coercive environment, China’s Youth Cultures and Collective Spaces will be valuable to students and scholars of Chinese society, as well those working on the links between space, youth, and culture.

    Where Wild Grass Grow: Chinese Youth Culture Formation in Physical and Virtual Spaces, Vanessa Frangville and Gwennaël Gaffric

    Part 1: Youth culture in Commodified Collective Spaces

    1. From Homes to Parks, Shopping Malls and Theatres – Trajectory of Spatial Swift in Chinese Erciyuan Cosplay Practices, Hua Bin 

    2. From Tian’anmen Square to Grand Palais in Paris: The Shifting Spirit in the Commodification of Rock in the PRC, Peng Lei 

    3. Can China have its hip hop? Negotiating the Boundaries between Mainstream and Underground Youth Cultural Spaces on the Internet Talent Show Rap of China, Jingsi Christina Wu

    Part 2: Spaces of Sociability

    4. Spaces of Youth Cultural Production in Rural China, Adam Chau

    5. The Sociability of Millennials in Cyberspace: A Comparative Analysis of Barrage Subtitling in Nico Nico Douga and bilibili, Seio Nakajima

    6. Representations of Sociability in Public Spaces in the Uyghur Web Series Anar Pishti: Resilience, Resistance and Reinvention, Vanessa Frangville

    Part 3: Spaces of Social Engagement

    7. Masked Demonstrations: Deploying Creative Tactics to Protest Air Pollution, Elizabeth Brunner

    8. Chinese LGBT+ Activism – Playing, Organizing and Playful Resistance, Stijn Deklerck

    9. Struggling around the politics of recognition: the formation of communities of interpretations and of emotions among a collective of migrant workers in 21st Century China, Eric Florence

    Part 4: Traveling in Space-Time

    10. Collective Space/Time Travel in Chinese Cyberliterature, Gwennaël Gaffric

    11. Back to the Future with Chinese characteristics: the case of Han Han’s Duckweed retro sci-fi, Corradi Neri

    12. "We are not like the calligraphers of ancient times". A study of young calligraphy practitioners in contemporary China, Laura Vermeeren and Jeroen De Kloet

    Afterthoughts: Rethinking the Spatial Politics of Presence in China’s Youth Culture, Lisa Richaud


    Vanessa Frangville is Senior Lecturer and Chair holder in Chinese studies at the Université libre de Bruxelles and the Director of EASt, ULB’s Research Centre on East Asia.

    Gwennaël Gaffric is currently Associate Professor of Chinese Language and Literature at the Université de Lyon, France. He is also translator of Chinese, Hongkongese, and Taiwanese contemporary novels.