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Knowing male subjects: Globally mobile Chinese professionals and the aesthetics of the Confucian sublime

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/09/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>China Perspectives
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)19-27
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article probes the sources, manifestations and significances of the ambivalences and contradictions in London-based Chinese middle-class male professionals’ sense of their own gendered and cultural identities in the context of China’s twenty-first century postsocialist modernity. In doing so, it shows how Chinese middle-class men’s sense of themselves connects with wider national debates about China’s orientation in the world. To make sense of the desire of some respondents “to become a Chinese gentleman”, the article introduces the notion of the postsocialist Confucian sublime, a vision of a cultural order of increasing appeal to well-educated, middle-class Chinese men. The article argues that the Confucian sublime offers globally mobile professional Chinese men the opportunity to transcend their ambivalence towards Western modernity by providing a sense of wholeness and attainment both at a personal level and relating to China’s place in contemporary globality.