The Fragile Scholar: Power and Masculinity in Chinese Culture

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Hong Kong University Press, 2004 M01 1 - 256 pages
The Fragile Scholar examines the pre-modern construction of Chinese masculinity from the popular image of the fragile scholar (caizi) in late imperial Chinese fiction and drama. The book is an original contribution to the study of the construction of masculinity in the Chinese context from a comparative perspective (Euro-American). Its central thesis is that the concept of "masculinity" in pre-modern China was conceived in the network of hierarchical social and political power in a homosocial context rather than in opposition to "woman." In other words, gender discourse was more power-based than sex-based in pre-modern China, and Chinese masculinity was androgynous in nature. The author explains how the caizi discourse embodied the mediation between elite culture and popular culture by giving voice to the desire, fantasy, wants and tastes of urbanites.

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Chapter 1 The Fragile Scholar as a Cultural Discourse
Textuality Rituals and the Docile Bodies
Irony Subversion
Heroism Misogyny

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Page 2 - There is no gender identity behind the expressions of gender; that identity is performatively constituted by the very "expressions" that are said to be its results.
Page 5 - em Hell." Exude an aura of manly daring and aggression. Go for it. Take risks. These rules contain the elements of the definition against which virtually all American men are measured.
Page 9 - Orientalized' - and to believe that such things happen simply as a necessity of the imagination, is to be disingenuous. The relationship between Occident and Orient is a relationship of power, of domination, of varying degrees of a complex hegemony, and is quite accurately indicated in the title of KM Panikkar's classic Asia and Western Dominance* The Orient was Orientalized not only because it was discovered to be 'Oriental...

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