Intellectuals, Mainstream Culture, and Social Transformation
This chapter highlights a theme that implicitly runs through this book, namely, the changing relationship between mainstream culture and the role of intellectuals in the postrevolutionary socioeconomic transformation in contemporary China. It suggests that future studies of Chinese mainstream (popular) culture must take into account the formation and development of, for a lack of a better word, a “cultural ecosystem” in the last three decades in China with four major forces or groups dominating meaning production: guan (officials), mei (the media), chan (industry), and xue (the academy). It is no longer accurate to assume a monolithic entity called “Chinese intellectuals” independent of these forces when the cultural production of meaning has become multifaceted and tension-filled. Nor is it accurate to apply ready-made labels to voices from within these forces without fully understanding their contextual, dialogic, and ideological implications.
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