Reinventing Rebellion: Alternative Youth Subcultures in Post-Tiananmen China

By David Drissel.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

For decades, the People’s Republic of China lacked any visible manifestations of Western-influenced youth subcultures, while mandating social and cultural conformity to Marxist-Leninist-Maoist dogma. The advent of visible youth subcultures - a phenomenon denounced yet conditionally tolerated by the regime - coincided with the widespread dissemination of economic reform policies in the 1980s. Such youthful rebellion was stifled for a time after the crackdown of the student-led democracy movement at Tiananmen Square in 1989. Since that time, new youth subcultures have emerged that subtly challenge the socio-cultural status quo. Most such subcultures effectively combine Western-influenced music and “cool” styles with Chinese characteristics. This paper examines perceptions among Chinese youth of such glocal subcultural identities as xin xinrenlei (“new new human beings”), linglei (“alternative”), and panni (“rebel”). The paper is largely based on an ethnographic study of Chinese teenagers and young adults (ages 14 to 28).

Keywords: China, Youth Subcultures, Rock and Roll, Yaogun, Alternative Rock, Linglei, Rebellion, Punk Rock, Pangke, New New Human Beings, Xin Xinrenlei, Tiananmen Square, Panni, Disco, Hip-Hop, Subcultural Revolution, Chinese Communist Party, Economic Reform, Globalization, Glocalization, Distinctive Individuality, Gangtai, Canto-pop, Homosexuality, Cool, Subterranean Values, Ravers, Yuppies

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 3, Issue 10, pp.39-60. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 690.232KB).

Prof. David Drissel

Associate Professor, Department of Social Sciences, Iowa Central Community College, Fort Dodge, IA, USA

David Drissel is a professor of social sciences at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, Iowa. His undergraduate work included a double-major in political science and sociology and his graduate studies focused on comparative politics, international relations, and social change and development. Research interests include the global politics of Internet governance, transnational social movements, post-communist/post-socialist countries in transition, computer-mediated communication and society, youth subcultures and social deviance, and the utilization of interactive media and popular culture in mobilizing social networks. Professor Drissel is a two-time Fulbright Scholar who has studied extensively in China and the Czech/Slovak Republics, among many other countries. He is an alumnus of the Oxford (University) Roundtable in Great Britain, where he presented a paper on Internet governance. A frequent speaker and conference participant, he has had several papers published in various academic journals and compilations.


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