The emerging (national) popular music culture in China
Before the emergence of the modern sense of popular music in China, the uses of music in China have been instrumental in serving political purposes for the state. Modern form of popular music began to enter China through Hong Kong and Taiwan, the two very political locales in which we could observe Chinaˇ¦s political economy through the reception of their music in mainland China. How the Chinese authorities coped with the production, distribution and consumption of these popular ˇ§foreignˇ¨ popular music, are reflective of the swing of the pendulum between relaxation and control, and hence the changing ideologies of the state. Based on the cultural and institutional analysis on a few classical Chinese popular singers since the mid-1980s, this paper illustrates such transformation. The paper argues that the Chinese authorities, have evolved from an dictatorial authority, which chose to control popular music by means of direct ban and censorship, to an active agent, through various strategies, managing and producing a kind of popular music that can be conducive to and resonant with their national ideologies.
Anthony Y.H. Fung is an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He received his Ph.D. from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. His research interests included political economy of popular culture, gender and youth identity, cultural studies, and new media technologies. Recently, he has been conducting research on transnational media corporations in China. His new book is New Television Globalization and East Asian Cultural Imaginations (coauthored with Keane and Moran).
Contact address: School of Journalism and Communication, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, NT, HONG KONG.