Unpacking Discourses on Chineseness: The Cultural Politics of Language and Identity in Globalizing China

Edited by: Shuang Gao, Xuan Wang

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Multilingual Matters
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210mm x 148mm
Price: £99.95
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This book examines the complexity of Chineseness in China and the Chinese diaspora. Using critical sociolinguistic and discourse analytical approaches, the chapters reveal the power dynamics and ideologies underlying the varied ways Chineseness is performed, represented and contested. Together they highlight four perspectives on Chineseness: the multiplicity of Chineseness, aspirational Chineseness, chronotopes of Chineseness and the cultural politics of Chineseness. It is argued that Chineseness is best understood as an ideologically-constructed variable, the articulation of which is deeply embedded within the dynamics of neoliberal globalization, rising nationalism, persistent Western hegemony, and shifting global geopolitics.

At a time when China's global presence is undoubted, this book reminds us of the imperative urgency for interrogating the notion of Chineseness. What makes this volume important is that it compels us to go beyond discussions on what Chineseness is, towards examination of how it's done and what it does to whom under which sociopolitical conditions.

Miguel Pérez-Milans, University College London, UK

This book convincingly demonstrates how global imaginaries permeate Chinese communities at home and abroad, through the mobility of texts, people, and understandings of language and citizenship. A welcome addition to research on language and globalization, it insightfully probes how multilingualism has been promoted over the long history of Chinese migration.

Adrienne Lo, University of Waterloo, Canada

Shuang Gao is a sociolinguist working at the University of Liverpool, UK. Her research uses ethnographic and discourse analytical methods to understand China under globalization. She is the author of Aspiring to be Global: Language and Social Change in a Tourism Village in China (Multilingual Matters, 2019).

Xuan Wang is a Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies at Cardiff University, UK. Her research is interdisciplinary, drawing insights from sociolinguistics, cultural studies, digital communication, ethnography and globalisation studies. She has published a number of peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters.


Chapter 1. Shuang Gao: Introduction: Chineseness as Competing Discourses

Chapter 2. Jing Huang: Chineseness in Diaspora: Multilingualism, Heteroglossia and Fluid Ethnicity

Chapter 3. Luke Lu: When 'Chineseness' Is Not Preferred: Accounts of Academically Elite Students from China in Singapore's Schools

Chapter 4. Elaine Chung and Xuan Wang: Joseonjok YouTubers: Translating Vernacular Chineseness in South Korea

Chapter 5. Jessica Birnie-Smith: Framing Chineseness and Indonesianness on the Periphery

Chapter 6. Eric S. Henry: Narrating the Future Self: Strategic Stylisation and Cosmopolitan Stancetaking in Chinese IELTS Preparation Classes        

Chapter 7. Shuang Gao: Coffee, Social Space and Middle-Class Romance: Customer Writings in an Independent Coffee Shop in China

Chapter 8. Mingyi Hou: The Authenticity, Cultural Authority and Credibility of Weibo Public Intellectuals

Chapter 9. Xiaoxiao Chen: 'Foreigners' in One's Own Land: Analysing Touristic Representations of Chineseness in the New York Times          

Chapter 10. Lionel Wee: Commentary


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