Public amnesia and multiple modernities in Shanghai: Narrating the postsocialist future in a former socialist "model community"

Wing Chung Ho, Petrus Y N NG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In contemporary Shanghai, one key phenomenon that marks the disappearance of the status and benefits once promised by Maoist socialism has been the spread of consumer values among the populace. This article draws from the ethnographic observations of Cucumber Lane-an urban slum turned into a socialist "model community" in the 1960s-and the post-socialist cultural landscape of urban Shanghai to explore the different interests, agendas, and rationales of the residents in terms of multiple narrative forms that underlie the fabric of reformist China in transitioning toward a post-socialist future. The author concludes that, despite the state-led efforts to articulate a new course of transition, ostensibly by encouraging public amnesia of the socialist past, the "multiple modernities" expressed by the residents represent an "informal privatization of time" through which individuals come to lay claims on the control of their previously collectively shared future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-416
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Contemporary Ethnography
Volume37
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies

User-Defined Keywords

  • China
  • Community
  • Modernity
  • Post-socialist
  • Public amnesia
  • Shanghai

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