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Mediating Time: The "Rice Bowl of Youth" in Fin de Siecle Urban China

Mediating Time: The "Rice Bowl of Youth" in Fin de Siecle Urban China Earlier versions of this essay were presented at the 1995 annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies, Washington, D.C., and at the symposium on “Sex, Gender, and Public Space in Contemporary China” at Tufts University in 1996. I thank Zhong Xueping for organizing both the AAS panel and the symposium, which provided a forum for me to develop this essay. I am also grateful for Public Culture 12(1): 93–113 Copyright © 2000 by Duke University Press Public Culture poverty of the socialist experiment.1 An image of modern folklore, the iron rice bowl exercised enormous representational power, as the most mundane of everyday objects became the pivotal figure of political and social turmoil. With the advent of the market economy, the symbolism of the rice bowl changed radically. People left the stagnant state sectors (voluntarily or involuntarily) to seek monetary and personal fulfillment in the business world—plunging into the ocean. As a side effect of social restructuring, a new importance in the marketplace and popular culture was assigned to gender, age, and class. While the iron rice bowl is now perceived as rusty and broken, a new figure, the “rice bowl of youth” (qingchunfan), has gained wide currency http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Public Culture Duke University Press

Mediating Time: The "Rice Bowl of Youth" in Fin de Siecle Urban China

Public Culture , Volume 12 (1) – Jan 1, 2000

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2000 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0899-2363
eISSN
1527-8018
DOI
10.1215/08992363-12-1-93
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Earlier versions of this essay were presented at the 1995 annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies, Washington, D.C., and at the symposium on “Sex, Gender, and Public Space in Contemporary China” at Tufts University in 1996. I thank Zhong Xueping for organizing both the AAS panel and the symposium, which provided a forum for me to develop this essay. I am also grateful for Public Culture 12(1): 93–113 Copyright © 2000 by Duke University Press Public Culture poverty of the socialist experiment.1 An image of modern folklore, the iron rice bowl exercised enormous representational power, as the most mundane of everyday objects became the pivotal figure of political and social turmoil. With the advent of the market economy, the symbolism of the rice bowl changed radically. People left the stagnant state sectors (voluntarily or involuntarily) to seek monetary and personal fulfillment in the business world—plunging into the ocean. As a side effect of social restructuring, a new importance in the marketplace and popular culture was assigned to gender, age, and class. While the iron rice bowl is now perceived as rusty and broken, a new figure, the “rice bowl of youth” (qingchunfan), has gained wide currency

Journal

Public CultureDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2000

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