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

Wong, N.S.L. 2010. On the(re)emergence of cultural revolution imagery in China, Hong Kong and Singapore in the 21st century. PhD thesis University of Westminster School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Languages

TitleOn the(re)emergence of cultural revolution imagery in China, Hong Kong and Singapore in the 21st century
TypePhD thesis
AuthorsWong, N.S.L.
Abstract

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.

Year2010
FileNatalie_Siu_Lam_WONG.pdf
Publication dates
Completed2010

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