Transnational Chinese Masculinities in a Global Age
This chapter outlines transnational masculinities as a field of Study, and scholarship on transnationally inflected representations of Chinese masculinity and transnationally mobile Chinese men. It identifies three key key characteristics in the scholarly literature on Chinese masculinities in the context of globalization. First, the concept of cosmopolitanism is being increasingly used to explore the localization of globally circulating ideas and images in Chinese masculinities. Second, China’s integration with global financial and trading systems, which has been particularly pronounced since the 1990s, has forced the historically dominant intellectual or scholar-official (shi士) class to reconcile itself with the business activities traditionally carried out by the merchant (shang商) class. Third, the transnational circulation of models of emotionally expressive and caring fatherhood is significantly influencing Chinese discourses and practices of fathering. Through a detailed analysis of the other chapters in the volume, this chapter argues that it is possible to identify five broad patterns in the transformations of Chinese transnational masculinities: the embrace of localized cosmopolitan masculinities that are part-founded on historical notions and practices of Chinese masculinity; the enmeshment of intellectuals in business markets; emotionally engaged styles of fathering and intimate partnership; romantic involvement with non-Chinese women; and widespread anxiety and sensitivity about perceptions of Chinese masculinity. This chapter concludes that Chinese men are not unique in having to face such issues in transnational contexts; but, as the other chapters in this volume demonstrate, they negotiate them in unique—yet explainable—ways.
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