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Popular Music and Identity in China: A Qualitative Analysis of “Chineseness” in Mandopop since the 1980s

He, L (2024) Popular Music and Identity in China: A Qualitative Analysis of “Chineseness” in Mandopop since the 1980s. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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This qualitative popular music study explores the construction of identity in Mandopop after the policy of reform and opening-up in 1978 in China. Opening Part I of the thesis, the discussions begin with the concept of identity and subsequently explore Chinese identity, especially national identity and cultural identity, and its role in Chinese music history and Mandopop history by drawing on the concept from previous works by popular music academics and from the research by ethnomusicologists and cultural sociologists, who have made significant contributions to the study of music and identity. The discussions also explain the design of the research and analytical methods from a variety of disciplines to explore research questions, including one-to-one interviews, open-ended questionnaires, music observations and textual analysis, and acknowledge the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the research design and fieldwork. Part II explores the first research theme, Mandopop in a Changing Context, to reveal the historical background and sociocultural context of Mandopop and understand the commercial genre of Mandopop to relocate the use of the term “wind” in Mandopop, and to explore the functions of Mandopop. In Part III, three further research themes explore “Chineseness” in Mandopop based on the perspectives of fieldwork participants, with subsequent chapters based on each theme. The first theme is related to Chinese nationalism and national identity in Mandopop by discussing key terms and analyzing representative musical examples to explore the rise of nationalism in China and the construction of national identity in Mandopop. The second theme explores class identity and social stratification in Mandopop, illustrating the connection between class status and musical taste in Mandopop based on the homology and “omnivore-univore” argument, thus discussing the construction of class identity in Mandopop. The final theme is about fandom culture and idol industry in China and its impact on Mandopop, illustrating the relationship between fandom, policy and media platforms, as well as discussing how fandom (as a subcultural group) constructed its own identity in Mandopop under the strict censorship 4 system in China. Overall, the thesis presents multiple factors that affect the construction of Chinese identity in Mandopop as it is shaped by different ideologies and creative expressions within changing sociocultural contexts.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mandopop; Chineseness; Chinese cultural identity; Popular Music and Identity
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions: Humanities & Social Science
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2024 10:02
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2024 10:03
DOI or ID number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00022930
Supervisors: Krüger Bridge, S, Li, R and Roberts, E
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/22930
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