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Global Futures in East Asia: Youth, Nation, and the New Economy in Uncertain Times

by Ann Anagnost Andrea Arai Hai Ren

The East Asian economic miracle of the twentieth century is now a fond memory. What does it mean to be living in post-miracle times? For the youth of China, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea, the opportunities and challenges of the neoliberal age, deeply shaped by global forces in labor markets, powerfully frame their life prospects in ways that are barely recognizable to their parents. Global Futures in East Asiagathers together ethnographic explorations of what its contributors call projects of "life-making. " Here we see youth striving to understand themselves, their place in society, and their career opportunities in the nation, region, and world. While some express optimism, it is clear that many others dread their prospects in the competitive global system in which the failure to thrive is isolating, humiliating, and possibly even fatal. Deeply engaged with some of the most significant theoretical debates in the social sciences in recent years, and rich with rare cross-national comparisons, this collection will be of great interest to all scholars and students interested in the formation of subjects and subjectivities under globalization and neoliberalism.

National Past-Times: Narrative, Representation, and Power in Modern China

by Ann Anagnost

In National Past-Times, Ann Anagnost explores the fashioning and refashioning of modern Chinese subjectivity as it relates to the literal and figurative body of the nation. In essays revealing the particular temporality of the modern Chinese nation-state, Anagnost examines the disparate eras of its recent past and its propensity for continually looking backward in order to face the future.Using interviews and participant observation as well as close readings of official documents, propaganda materials, and popular media, Anagnost notes the discontinuities in the nation's narrative--moments where this narrative has been radically reorganized at critical junctures in China's modern history. Covering a broad range of issues relating to representation and power--issues that have presented themselves with particular clarity in the years since the violent crackdown on the student movement of 1989--National Past-Times critiques the ambiguous possibilities produced by the market, as well as new opportunities for "unfreedom" in the discipline of labor and the commodification of women. Anagnost begins with a retrospective reflection on the practice of "speaking bitterness" in socialist revolutionary practice. Subsequent essays discuss the culture debates of the 1980s, the discourse of social disorder, the issue of population control, the film The Story of Qiu Ju, and anomalies at the theme park "Splendid China."

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