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Subject and Utopia — A Critical Review on Gan Yang's Cultural Discourses in 1980s China

Pi, Kyung-hoon 1

1고려대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The reason why 1980s China is important is because that period had laid a fundament ground for the rebuilding of the subject after the end of “the Cultural Revolution.” Confronting with the unprecedented disaster, which was the total corruption of the cultural system during “the Cultural Revolution” period, Chinese intellectuals in 1980s had to rebuild their culture system. Under this kind of cultural circumstances, they had wanted to find the sources of the self: the national identity(民族認同). From the point of Duara’s view, this “finding the self or national identity” is natural, and its willingness for its nation identity is called as “authentic regime.” On the other hand, however, no matter how important it was, “the subject” which is able to alienate itself from its own cultural system, that is the national tradition, is indispensable for “the modern critical subject.” According to Chatterjee and Bhabha view, the crucial thing for the cultural subject in the modern power-field is not the problem whether it is our own or not, but is the problem whether the cultural subject can critically think its own cultural system. Nevertheless, although Gan Yang’s the cultural discourse in 1980s China accepted the concept “temporality” for rethinking Chinese tradition, but he failed to construct the subject who is able to alienate itself from its own cultural system(傳統). This kind of lack in constructing subject is still reproducing the subject which is prone to return to its tradition. As “the New Left(新左派)”, Gan Yang is also grouped as “the New Left”, has shown after 1990s, the subject being prone to its tradition could not produce “the critical subject”, and as a result, they became being inclined to “the cultural conservatism(文化保守主義).”This paper would propose that the root of this cultural conservatism should be related back to the 1980s cultural discourse, and Gan Yang’s cultural discourses could be good samples for that.

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* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.