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The Cosmopolitan Dream: Transnational Chinese Masculinities in a Global Age

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsAnthology

Publication date09/2018
Place of PublicationHong Kong
PublisherHong Kong University Press
ISBN (print)9789888455850
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameTransnational Asian Masculinities


The Cosmopolitan Dream presents the broad patterns in the transformations of mainland Chinese masculinity over recent years, covering both representations (in film, fiction, and on television) and the lived experiences of Chinese men on four continents. Exposure to myriad forms of transnational influences has turned Chinese notions of masculinity cosmopolitan, and yet the configurations of these hybrid masculinities retain the imprint of Chinese historical models.

Contributors find that global interconnectivity of markets has made the highly mobile transnational business masculinity the hegemonic form of manhood, but the fusion of this kind of cosmopolitanism with Chinese characteristics comes with a hierarchical espousal of educated men’s class and gender privileges. The traditionally prized intellectual masculinity in Chinese culture has by now reconciled with dominant business values. Together they shape the outlook of the contemporary generation of Chinese elites. At the same time globalization has increased the cross-country mobility of blue-collar Chinese men, who may possess a masculine ideal which is different from that of the white collars. These discussions demand a more detailed examination of the recent, reform-era mainland Chinese migration. The migrant man – whether he is a worker, student, or author (among the cases studied in this volume) – could face challenges to his masculinity based on his perceived race, class, intimate partners, and how he negotiates fatherhood. The strategies adopted by Chinese men to reinvent their masculine identities in these concrete human stories offer much insight into the complex connections between masculinity and the rapid socioeconomic developments of postsocialist China.