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Chinese Discourses on Happiness$
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Gerda Wielander and Derek Hird

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9789888455720

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888455720.001.0001

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Happiness “with a Chinese Taste”

Happiness “with a Chinese Taste”

An Interpretive Analysis of CCTV’s 2014 Spring Festival Gala’s Public Service Announcement (PSA) “Chopsticks” (Kuaizi pian)

(p.64) 3 Happiness “with a Chinese Taste”
Chinese Discourses on Happiness

Giovanna Puppin

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter explores how happiness is constructed in a new category of public service announcements (PSAs), which are broadcast during the CCTV's Spring Festival Gala. It lays down the theoretical foundations of the relationship between advertising and happiness, drawing on Sara Ahmed’s Promise of Happiness (2010), before moving on to introducing the context of the production and broadcast of Gala PSAs. The following section comprises a critical interpretive analysis of a purposively selected case study: the TV PSA "Chopsticks" (Kuaizi pian筷子篇‎, 2014). The analysis reveals that families – including the “big family” of the Chinese nation – lie at the heart of each sequence, and constitute happiness associations. It is clear that chopsticks were chosen as the central multimodal metaphor of this PSA because of the link between them and an idea of Chineseness. Chopsticks not only transmit food, but also emotions, and, more importantly, they direct the viewers’ attention to the State-sanctioned values and behaviours that promise happiness. Ultimately, this chapter argues that this PSA promotes a culturally and ethnically specific "happiness with a Chinese taste" (xingfu Zhongguo wei幸福中国味‎).

Keywords:   advertising, CCTV Spring Festival Gala, China, civilization, happiness, national identity, public service advertising (PSA), socialist values

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