1st Edition

Cultural Representation and Cultural Studies

By Zhou Xian Copyright 2023

    From the perspective of critical cultural sociology, this book delves into the intertwining relations of cultural transformation and social evolution, illuminating contemporary Chinese culture’s landscape and underlying logic since the 1980s.

    With a special focus on the tensions among politics, economy, and culture itself, this book examines the transitions of Chinese culture from tradition to the modern age. It expounds the cultural differentiation and its effect in contemporary China. Within this framework, the author addresses some key issues and phenomena that figure in the cultural scene of modern China, ranging from the crisis of Chinese cultural identity in the context of globalization, the media culture, and its impacts on everyday life, to the visual culture and social transformation.

    Offering a panoramic view of Chinese contemporary culture, literature, arts, and society, this title will serve as an essential read for scholars of China studies, Cultural studies, and visual culture, as well as anyone interested in what’s going on in Chinese contemporary culture.

    Introduction  PART I From Tradition to the Modern Age  1. From Primitive Culture to Classical Culture: Integration and Differentiation  2. From Classical Culture to Modern Culture: Harmony vs. Conflict  PART II Chinese Culture in the Context of Globalization  3. "Legitimation" and Identity Anxiety  4. Sinologism as a Problematic  5. Literature and Identity  6. Cross-Cultural Understanding and Interpretation  7. Globalization and Cultural Identity  PART III Media Culture and Everyday Life  8. The Evolution of Contemporary Chinese Media Culture as a Spectacle  9. The Emergence of Micro Culture and Its Discontents  10. From "Immersive Reading" to “Fast Reading”  11. The Construction of Critical Rationality in a Technology-Oriented Society  12. The Aestheticization of Everyday Life in the "Post-Revolutionary Time"  PART IV Visual Culture and Social Transformation  13. Contemporary Chinese Society and Visual Culture  14. From Text Reading to Picture Reading 15. Spectacle Cinema and Visual Culture  16. Wang Guangyi's The Great Criticism and Pop Iconography  17. Spatial Practices in the Space of Haze City


    Zhou Xian is a distinguished professor at Nanjing University, China. His research interests include cultural studies, aesthetics, and literary theory. His books cover a wide range of topics and he has been published in Chinese, English, and French.

    "Cultural Representation and Cultural Studies is an innovative and insightful account of the all-important 'cultural turn' in contemporary scholarship. In lucid prose, Zhou Xian’s study perspicuously reconstructs the way that the methodologies of Cultural Studies and Visual Culture have revolutionized our understanding of the modalities of legitimation in post-industrial society. Zhou Xian’s book is especially original and compelling in the way that it applies the techniques 'cultural analysis' to the convulsive socio-historical transformations that have impacted post-revolutionary China. In sum, Cultural Representation and Cultural Studies is a pathbreaking contribution to the field of Cultural Studies scholarship."

    Richard Wolin, Distinguished Professor of History and Comparative Literature, CUNY Graduate Center

    "Zhou Xian has for decades now been one of China‘s and East Asia’s leading thinkers in cultural theory and aesthetics. In this book he brings his considerable learning to the investigation of visual culture in contemporary China. Zhou is one of the few who have successfully crossed over from comparative literature to thinking about art. This book is also a major contribution to our understanding of the visual landscape of the contemporary city."

    Scott Lash, Professor of Sociology, School of Anthropology, Oxford University

    "The immense culture of Zhou Xian, his continual dialogue with Western theoreticians, his great power of analysis and synthesis make the translation of his texts a reference work. Focusing particularly on the effects of differentiation in an artistic field that reflects the evolution of Chinese culture and society as a whole, this book is also an important contribution to contemporary aesthetics."

    Carole Talon-Hugon, Professor, Philosophy Department, Sorbonne University, France