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Not a Simple 'Anthropocene' Story in Contemporary China: Unveiling the Entanglement of Chinese Social and Environmental Issues

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Not a Simple 'Anthropocene' Story in Contemporary China: Unveiling the Entanglement of Chinese Social and Environmental Issues

Zhou, Yujie (2020) Not a Simple 'Anthropocene' Story in Contemporary China: Unveiling the Entanglement of Chinese Social and Environmental Issues. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

I developed this thesis, that addresses current social issues and environmental issues in contemporary China, in response to the pursuit of economic development and urbanization, before and after the political-ideological reorientation of the Chinese Communist Party led by Deng Xiaoping and his Reform and Openness policy at the end of the 1970s. I explore the cinematic reflection of environmental problems and social issues in three films of Jia Zhangke, a famous sixth-generation director who adopts realistic aesthetic and artistic pursuit in his films. My reflection is accompanied by a critical discourse analysis of newspaper articles from People’s Daily. Through these two methods, I examine the reality of contemporary China through an economic, cultural, political, social and natural lens to shed light on the root causes of various social and environmental issues in contemporary China.
Guided by Anthropocene thinking, I engage in a discussion on tensions within human- nature relationships in China. This research introduces a way of understanding the human- nature relationship within the Anthropocene framework by considering elements including the social structure of human society, the social stratification of different social groups, and the ultimate hegemony of powerholders. In this thesis, I argue that proletariats and ordinary Chinese people in contemporary China who struggle with their personal existential crises do not have the social and political power to make changes to their social reality, neither do they have the power to interfere with the decisions of powerholders, where these decisions are influential in causing social changes, changes to Chinese people’s daily life, changes of Chinese natural landscapes and the human-nature relationship in China.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Communication Studies
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Zhou, Yujie
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Communication
Date:8 August 2020
Thesis Supervisor(s):Miller, Elizabeth
ID Code:987209
Deposited By: Yujie Zhou
Deposited On:25 Nov 2020 16:18
Last Modified:25 Nov 2020 16:18
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