Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Marketing Nostalgia: Beijing Folk Arts in the Age of Heritage Construction
by Hsieh, I-Yi, Ph.D., New York University, 2016, 238; 10139814
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation presents an analysis of the reconstruction of urban folk arts as cultural heritage in China. Focusing on material culture and folk performances revived in two Beijing folklore markets, the dissertation discusses the neoliberal marketization that coincides with urban commercial zoning in China since the 1980s. The dissertation examines the intertwined cultural and economic dimensions of collective nostalgia, urban marketization and heritage developmentalism. Based on ethnographic and archival research in Beijing from 2010 to 2015, the dissertation addresses China’s collaboration with UNESCO in world cultural heritage program. It looks closely at the process of cultural heritage marketization, which is geared toward a developmental agenda. Such a heritage construction appears in conjuncture with the rise of the new Chinese cultural industry and cultural entrepreneurship, reconfiguring the sociopolitical role of folk arts and folk artists in China.

Through the ethnographic lens, the dissertation focuses on depicting the everyday life in contemporary Beijing surrounding folklore marketplaces. In particular, it describes material engagements established by connoisseurs and collectors in two major folklore markets, the Shilihe and the Panjiayuan market, demonstrating a new Chinese folklore connoisseurship that ascends and reconfigured in contemporary Beijing. This dissertation argues that the desire, and the collective effort, to overcome the post-Mao social and cultural transformation have materialized in the revival of folk traditions as marketized cultural heritage. It contends that the ascending cultural market propels the hope of national rejuvenation while bringing about a new form of possessive individualism alongside the process of privatization.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Karl, Rebecca E.
Commitee: Abercrombie, Thomas, Ivy, Marilyn, Looser, Thomas, Myers, Fred
School: New York University
Department: East Asian Studies
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 78/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, History, Asian Studies
Keywords: China, Collecting, Folk art, Heritage, Market, Material culture, Performance
Publication Number: 10139814
ISBN: 978-1-339-95292-5
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