On the(re)emergence of cultural revolution imagery in China, Hong Kong and Singapore in the 21st century

Wong, Natalie Siu-Lam (2010) On the(re)emergence of cultural revolution imagery in China, Hong Kong and Singapore in the 21st century. Doctoral thesis, University of Westminster.


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This thesis interrogates the (re)emergence of Cultural Revolution imagery in the 21st century as a cultural lens through which contemporary contradictory relations between China, Hong Kong and Singapore are revealed. Between the late 1990s and throughout the 2000s, a number of images originating from political posters produced during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution of the People's Republic of China (PRC) were circulating in urban city cultures of Hong Kong and Singapore, and in cyberspace in China. Removed from their original context those images were reproduced as new cultural products and sites in new urban environments. The research methods are predominantly shaped by the nature of the research which could broadly be described as ‘visual culture’ and the transformations of a set of images across time, as an extremely recent phenomenon. Drawing on key concepts in cultural studies, such as signifying practices, representation, articulation and identity, I use Cultural Revolution popular cultural products as ‘media texts’ to understand societies and contemporary urban popular cultures in China, Hong Kong and Singapore. As my research reveals, Cultural Revolution imagery can be flexibly transferred to different physical and virtual forms and its meaning varies according to cultural contexts, local practices which are shaped by historical backgrounds of respective locations. It is the transferability of Cultural Revolution imagery which continues to play a role in mass communication in contemporary urban popular culture. The first chapter sets the scene for the (re)emergence of Cultural Revolution imagery in the 21st century in China, Hong Kong and Singapore. Chapter Two provides a detailed account of methodologies and examines academic literature. Chapter Three discusses the commodification of Chinese Revolutionary imagery in mobile multimedia pictures in Chinese urban culture. Chapter Four examines the ways in which Chinese Revolutionary imagery was borrowed by Hong Kong designers in the post-1997 Hong Kong context through some examples of commercial commodities using Cultural Revolution imagery as branding elements. Chapter Five discusses how Chinese Revolutionary imagery was used in commercial spaces (i.e. theme restaurant) in Singapore at the turn of the 21st century.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: University of Westminster > Social Sciences and Humanities
Depositing User: Miss Nina Watts
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2010 16:09
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2010 10:21
URI: http://westminsterresearch.wmin.ac.uk/id/eprint/8881

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