Politics and Identity in Chinese Martial Arts  book cover
1st Edition

Politics and Identity in Chinese Martial Arts

ISBN 9780367896195
Published November 28, 2019 by Routledge
244 Pages 28 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Chinese martial arts is considered by many to symbolise the strength of the Chinese and their pride in their history, and has long been regarded as an important element of Chinese culture and national identity. Politics and Identity in Chinese Martial Arts comprehensively examines the development of Chinese martial arts in the context of history and politics, and highlights its role in nation building and identity construction over the past two centuries.  

This book explores how the development of Chinese martial arts was influenced by the ruling regimes’ political and military policies, as well as the social and economic environment. It also discusses the transformation of Chinese martial arts into its modern form as a competitive sport, a sport for all and a performing art, considering the effect of the rapid transformation of Chinese society in the 20th century and the influence of Western sports. The text concludes by examining the current prominence of Chinese martial arts on a global scale and the bright future of the sport as a unique cultural icon and national symbol of China in an era of globalisation.

Politics and Identity in Chinese Martial Arts is important reading for researchers, students and scholars working in the areas of Chinese studies, Chinese history, political science and sports studies. It is also a valuable read for anyone with a special interest in Chinese martial arts.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2 From Shang to Yuan Dynasties

The Shang and Zhou Dynasties

The Qin and Han Dynasties

The Jin and the Northern and Southern Dynasties

The Sui and Tang Dynasties

The Song and Yuan Dynasties


3 The Ming and Qing Dynasties

The Ming Golden Age

The Rise of Various Schools of Martial Arts

The Ban on Martial Arts

The Tiandihui, the Boxer Rebellion and the Nationalist Revolution


4 The Republic of China Era

Nationalism, Militarism and Martial Arts

Chinese Martial Arts Publications

The Debate

The Rise of Wuxia Novels and Movies


5 The Mao Era

Surviving Socialist Reforms

Revolutionary Wushu

Recovering from the Cultural Revolution

Wuxia Novels and Movies: Blending Martial Arts and Nationalism


6 The Era of Reform and Opening Up

Restoring the Cultural Tradition

Transforming Wushu into a Competitive Sport

Developing Wushu as a Sport for All

Wuxia Movies: Projecting the "Chineseness"

Wushu Goes Global


7 Conclusion

Chinese Martial Arts: History, Politics and National Identity

Modern vs. Tradition

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Lu Zhouxiang is Lecturer in Chinese Studies within the School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the National University of Ireland Maynooth, Ireland.