Zhou Xuelin

in Young Rebels in Contemporary Chinese Cinema

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9789622098497
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882207707 | DOI:

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This chapter presents general conclusions about Chinese youth culture as suggested by the young-rebel films of the 1980s. First, Chinese youth culture emerging in the 1980s was not a genuinely counter-hegemonic culture in the political (Marxist) sense of the term. As portrayed in these young-rebel films, youngsters mocked conventional lifestyles, poured irony on orthodox ideologies, and became apathetic in their attitude to the traditional framework of politics. Second, the Chinese youth culture in the 1980s was commodity-oriented by nature. Third, the belated emergence of these young-rebel films demonstrates that Chinese society had imposed restrictions on the development of youth culture. Fourth, Chinese youth culture in the 1980s did not establish its own theoretical framework. Chinese youth received unprecedented attention over the decade, which saw the establishment and publication of academic journals focusing on the study of youth, along with a wide range of popular youth magazines. Despite this, youth culture in China was rarely theorized in radical terms in the way it had been in the West.

Keywords: youth culture; young-rebel films; Marxist; irony; politics; China

Chapter.  3457 words. 

Subjects: Film

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