When nationalism meets hip-hop: aestheticized politics of ideotainment in China

Sheng Zou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


This essay unravels the coalescence between bottom-up youth culture and state-led ideological work in China by examining the patriotic hip-hop music videos of a Chinese youth band. I attend to the ways in which the state-centric ideology is aesthetically evoked by co-opting popular cultural formats, maneuvering grassroots nationalistic expressions and appropriating symbols of both tradition and modernity. Hip-hop is thus localized and sanitized as a cultural medium of propaganda. The limitations of such co-optative tactics are also discussed, particularly the tradeoff between ideological control and authentic expressivity, and the risk of de-sublimating auratic cultural symbols for political persuasion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-195
Number of pages18
JournalCommunication and Critical/ Cultural Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2019

User-Defined Keywords

  • nationalism
  • hip-hop
  • ideological state apparatus
  • ideotainment
  • aura


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