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Title: Mediated music, mediated nations : Taiwanese popular music in China
Author: Huang, Chun-Ming
ISNI:       0000 0004 7224 5795
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2018
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Taiwan’s pop music is enormously popular in China. This study aims to probe the reasons for this success as it has taken place against a backdrop of hostile political relations between the Taiwanese and the Chinese. The study explores the ways in which Chinese people and the Chinese media have negotiated and practised the work of ‘imagined communities’ through the consumption of Taiwan’s pop. It focuses on the cultural-political struggles of Taiwan’s pop in China, its mediation, and consumption as a cultural practice. The study suggests that deliberative mediation and a sociable mediation are able to coexist through the process of music consumption. The study has used a variety of research methods, including semi-structured interviews of Chinese audience-members; documentary, media and historical analysis; desk research; and a six-month period of observation in Beijing. It examines the experiences of 26 Chinese audience members living in Beijing or Taiwan who are fans of the ‘Little Freshness’ style of music. Four important media texts are discussed: 1) Chinese Central Television’s (CCTV’s) New Year’s Gala (1984–2014); 2) the magazine People’s Music(1980–2007); 3) Li Wan’s book, How Much Time has Gone By, the Forgotten Sorrow: Sixty years of Songs Across Three Places: China’s Mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan (2012); 4) Zhang Lixian’s edited volume, Archaisms: Luo Dayou (2000). Using the concept of mediation, the study highlights the significance of a ‘structure of feeling’ (Williams, 1961) to identify how the ‘multi-mediated’ process of consumption of Taiwan’s pop is made up of emotion, conflict and negotiation from the interplay of relations between Taiwan and China. This has emerged as a combination of musical mediation and political mediation, a combination which, in turn, moved from the cultural consumption of Taiwan’s pop towards the practice of the political. The study reflects on related approaches to see their limits and problems when applied to the study of Taiwan and China, and proposes that music consumption requires the engagement of the biographies of both the audience-members and the musical work in order to ‘activate’ the social use of music. It draws on Williams’s concept of common culture as well as Mouffe’s idea of agonistic pluralism to suggest that participation in, and interpretation of, Taiwan’s pop may further propel both Taiwan and China towards commonly held, yet contested, cultures - in other words, that their citizens may come to possess plural cultural citizenships.
Supervisor: Prior, Nicholas ; Darmon, Isabelle Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: China ; Taiwan ; mediation ; cultural politics ; consumption ; nations ; pop music ; political identity