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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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PRINTED FROM HONG KONG SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hongkong.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hong Kong University Press, 2021. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HKSO for personal use.date: 22 June 2021

Talking of Happiness

Talking of Happiness

How Hope Configures Queer Experience in China

Chapter:
(p.169) 8 Talking of Happiness
Source:
Chinese Discourses on Happiness
Author(s):

William F. Schroeder

Publisher:
Hong Kong University Press
DOI:10.5790/hongkong/9789888455720.003.0009

Anthropologists have long argued that emotions are cultural and have turned to the language of emotions to analyze them. This chapter starts from a similar approach but uses an online discussion about happiness among contemporary queer mainland Chinese men to argue that “emotion talk” opens up rather than delimits notions of how to live a joyful life. These men’s discussions focus less on particular definitions of happiness and more on the bonds created in the act of talking about it. Such a phatic approach allows them to maintain hopefulness in the face of persistent challenges to their wellbeing. The chapter concludes that the hopeful and potentiating aspects of emotion talk should encourage a shift in attention, especially in research with marginalized people, from simple questions of compliance or resistance toward a more nuanced analysis of affective context.

Keywords:   Affect, queer China, language, anthropology

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