Televising Chineseness

Gender, Nation, and Subjectivity
Geng Song
Offers new understandings of gender construction and nation-building through the lens of recent Chinese television programs.


The serial narrative is one of the most robust and popular forms of storytelling in contemporary China. With a domestic audience of one billion-plus and growing transnational influence and accessibility, this form of storytelling is becoming the centerpiece of a fast-growing digital entertainment industry and a new symbol and carrier of China’s soft power. Televising Chineseness: Gender, Nation, and Subjectivity explores how television and online dramas imagine the Chinese nation and form postsocialist Chinese gendered subjects. The book addresses a conspicuous paradox in Chinese popular culture today: the coexistence of increasingly diverse gender presentations and conservative gender policing by the government, viewers, and society. Using first-hand data collected through interviews and focus group discussions with audiences comprising viewers of different ages, genders, and educational backgrounds, Televising Chineseness sheds light on how television culture relates to the power mechanisms and truth regimes that shape the understanding of gender and the construction of gendered subjects in postsocialist China.
Geng Song is Associate Professor in the School of Chinese at the University of Hong Kong.

Praise / Awards

  • Televising Chineseness is well-conceived, well-executed, and highly readable. Scholars and students of China studies, television studies, gender studies, cultural studies, and nationalism studies will find this book highly appealing and useful.”
    —Faye Xiao, University of Kansas
  • “Song’s examination of gender roles, China’s imagined and real relationship to the Other, patriotism, nationalism, and globalization is poignant and insightful. This engaging study of popular entertainment from a leading scholar in masculinity studies and TV studies gauges the temperature and mood of an increasingly diverse body of mainland Chinese spectators, consumers, and citizens.”
    —Sheldon Lu, University of California Davis

Product Details

  • 252 pages.
  • 24 illustrations.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Ebook
  • 2022
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-22004-5

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  • China, television, Chineseness, Chinese television, gender, sexuality, nation, nationalism, gender and nation, masculinity, femininity, entertainment, affect, cosmopolitanism, post-socialist China, contemporary China, Chinese media, Chinese nationalism, subjectivity, nation-building, subject-making, TV drama, web drama, popular culture, serial narrative, soft power, queer