Chapter

Yearnings

Lisa Rofel

in Other Modernities

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 1999 | ISBN: 9780520210783
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520919860 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520210783.003.0008
Yearnings

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Yearnings is a heart-wrenching television serial that played to rapt audiences in China over several months during the winter of 1991. It tells a melodramatic tale about the intertwined lives, loves, and tragedies of two families, one of an intellectual background, the other of a working-class background, as their joys and sorrows unfold over the decades from the Cultural Revolution through the late 1980s. This chapter explores that passion for meaningful engagement felt by those who came of age in the Cultural Revolution, which produced a yearning on the part of members of a cohort who, in retrospect, felt that as a result of their past, they had lost possibilities rather than gained them. Though shared, the yearning did not have homogeneous effects, nor did it always remain contained within dominant discourses about the past and future of China's modernity. This yearning could as easily unsettle authority as support it.

Keywords: China; Yearnings; melodrama; Cultural Revolution; modernity

Chapter.  9435 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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