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Male Subjectivities: The Idealization of the Democratic Public Sphere: Crossroads (1937) and The Trouble Shooters (1988)

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This paper explores male subjectivities that encompass primordial democratic consciousness in both 1930s and 1980s China. Drawing on Jurgen Habermas’s conceptualization of the public sphere, this paper identifies an imagined modern public sphere against Chinese urban representations. In both Crossroads (1937) and The Trouble Shooters (1988), male protagonists adopt the role of torchbearer in the vibrant urban sphere, working toward a newly defined social justice. Asserting a new male subjectivity evolved with the imaginative public good, providing a training ground for Chinese democracy. All of the above mirror some prominent features of the public sphere, including the masculine aspect of Habermas’s idealisation of the concept, as pinpointed by Nancy Fraser (1992).
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Keywords: China; democracy; male subjectivity; public sphere; urban development

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Auckland

Publication date: 2011-03-01

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  • Asian Cinema is a seminal journal, which has been published since 1995 by the Asian Cinema Studies Society under the stewardship of Professor John Lent. From 2012 Asian Cinema will be published by Intellect as part of our Film Studies journal portfolio. The journal currently publishes a variety of scholarly material - including research articles, interviews, book and film reviews and bibliographies - on all forms and aspects of Asian cinema. The journal's broad aim is to advance understanding and knowledge of the rich traditions of the various Asian cinemas, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the field of Film Studies in general.
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