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Fragmented Memories and Screening Nostalgia for the Cultural Revolution$
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Jing Meng

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9789888528462

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888528462.001.0001

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A Collective ‘I’ and Its Contending Readings

A Collective ‘I’ and Its Contending Readings

Personal Memories in Sent-Down Youth

Chapter:
(p.111) 5 A Collective ‘I’ and Its Contending Readings
Source:
Fragmented Memories and Screening Nostalgia for the Cultural Revolution
Author(s):

Jing Meng

Publisher:
Hong Kong University Press
DOI:10.5790/hongkong/9789888528462.003.0006

Chapter 5 investigates the television serial drama Sent-Down Youth to discover how personal memories are used to provide pedagogical lessons and to build up a collective imagination of the past. The television drama is presented as a critique of the Cultural Revolution against the backdrop of the rising fever for the ‘Red Culture’ campaign in Chongqing, but it also exalts the idealism and altruism of the Cultural Revolution generation and criticizes materialism in contemporary society. Socialism here is associated with idealism, collectivism, and passion. However, the audience may also apply their understandings of the political context and personal memories to decode the representation, producing diversified and contested readings of the television drama. Television—being state owned and the mouthpiece of the party-state—both limits and enables the proliferation of multiple personal memories and discourses about the past and the present.

Keywords:   Sent-Down Youth, The Cultural Revolution, Television drama, Collective memories, Socialist ideals, Contestations

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