Review on China’s New Voices: Popular Music, Ethnicity, Gender and Politics, 1978-1997

From Music-China Wiki

Jump to: navigation, search

Review on China’s New Voices: Popular Music, Ethnicity, Gender and Politics, 1978-1997

by Barbara Mittler

url: http://mclc.osu.edu/rc/pubs/reviews/mittler.htm

Introduction

This book is a must-read for anyone working in the field of Chinese cultural studies as well as for those specialized in Chinese political culture and Chinese contemporary history and society. The book provides an exciting and insightful account of the popular music scene in the last twenty years of the twentieth century, yet it does much more. By providing comparisons to many cultural and socio-political fields apart from popular music, Nimrod Baranovitch gives an accurate and useful overview of Chinese popular culture during this period. His book contains discussions ranging from Roots Literature (xiangtu wenxue) to fifth generation film, from Obscure Poetry (menglongshi) to cultural manifestations of Chinese nationalism. It also provides much food for thought on issues such as ethnicity, gender, and contemporary cultural politics, by regarding all of these through the prism of popular music that, as the author aptly puts it “both mirrors and shapes society and culture as they change” (3). As Cui Jian put it, “Music will never deceive you.” In spite of its obvious importance in people’s lives, however, music remains a marginal topic in the discipline of Chinese studies. By making the connections to other forms of popular culture explicit, the book confirms once more how important it is to break restrictive boundaries and to integrate the study of Chinese music into the study of Chinese culture and society in general.



Personal tools