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Changing Chinese MasculinitiesFrom Imperial Pillars of State to Global Real Men$
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Louie Kam

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9789888208562

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888208562.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HONG KONG SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hongkong.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hong Kong University Press, 2022. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HKSO for personal use.date: 23 May 2022

Making Class and Gender

Making Class and Gender

White-Collar Men in Postsocialist China

(p.137) 7 Making Class and Gender
Changing Chinese Masculinities

Derek Hird

Hong Kong University Press

The prominence of white-collar (bailing) identity in twenty-first century China is a significant outcome of the major class and gender transformations in the reform era. White-collar men more than any other category fit the post-Mao project of producing affluent, well-educated, civilized (wenming) and high-quality (suzhi gao) individuals, replete with material and career aspirations and the skills to compete in the transnational economy. This chapter explores the formation of Chinese white-collar men’s subjectivities through interviews and ethnographic research. It reveals that Chinese white-collar men draw on a variety of globally circulating and locally embedded discourses to explain and legitimise their behaviour. Often defining themselves through a rhetoric of freedom and equality, but also acting to shore up their own gendered and classed privileges, Chinese white-collar men show themselves to be paradoxically progressive and conservative at the same time.

Keywords:   white-collar men (bailing nanren), postsocialist China, reform era, class, gender, subjectivity, discourse

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