Body, Subject, and Power in China
读书笔记 The politicized body
pp. 149-50 in Chapter 5 The Politicized Body (pp. 131-56) by Ann Anagnost
The realist novel instills an effect of the real within a fictional space, and it does this through the individualization of its characters based on the kinds of knowledge that are coextensive with a particular economy of power--what Foucault calls biopower that constructs an interiority. The socialist realist text, it seems to me, operates according to a quite different principle. It projects a utopian fiction onto the space of lived society, and it does this not through the individualization of its characters, but through a different operation. It classifies its characters into coded positions, representations that are moral exemplars, clusters of signs that must be made visible in order to circulate throughout the social body and thereby produce the effects of power by making the party, in its turn, also supremely visible in a dazzling display of presence.
p. 175 in Chapter 6 The female body and nationalist discourse: manchuria in Xiao Hong's Field of Life and Death (p. 157-80) by Lydia H. Liu
The subcategory of the woman writer in modern Chinese criticism itself has been created and legitimized in the name of "national" literature, which patronizes women's writing and subsumes it under the category of the nation in much the same way as the state deploys the category funv for political control.
Chapter 10 Theorizing Woman: Funv, Guojia, Jiating (pp. 253-89) by Tani E. Barlow
The importance of Fulian lay in its power to subordinate and dominate all inscriptions of womanhood in official discourse. It is not that Fulian actually represented the "interests" of women, but rather that one could not until recently be "represented"as a woman without the agency and mediation of Fulian.
They (Fulian) not only "represented the mass", they also consolidated and mediated internal differences (tuanjie gezhong butong de funv), homogenizing political subjects into a representable mass, so to speak, through an elaborate machinery of political democracy. The inception of Fulian initiated for funv unprecedented participation in the rituals of state formation and promised the newly minted subjects bureaucratic powers: but only so long as it--Fulian, the government--retained the power to determine what, in fact, constituted a funv.
The founding of the Fulian, however, was not specific to women. The same ritual unfolded in the mass groups that "reflected and represented" youth, trade unions, and other politically delineated constituencies. The Fulian organization (and its replica) took part in a reinscriptions of the national body, and thus it represented at a subordinated level the processes of state building commencing at levels superior to itself.
The CCP's statism made anatomical difference into the key factor in social life. It also assumed that male and female were essentially different organisms (what else do the "physiology of the human male" do but inscribe difference on a surface of similitude?) and on that basis made reproductive biology and physiology its scientific foundation. But the inscription of gender difference at the level of reproductive physiological terms. That is to say, although biology may be destiny, it did not appear to directly determine gender-appropriate psychology. In Fulian writing particularly there is a tendency to attribute difference to physiology while curtailing attributions of difference at the level of personality. This latter, the realm of feeling and character, remained until recently bound to conventions of Maoism that emphasized social class, not sex anatomy or "gender"... "Class" as a frame of personality has given way to sexual physiology as a frame of identity.
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