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Introduction: Chinese Masculinity: Is There Such a Thing?

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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book. The book explores the social, economic, and cultural factors that have affected men and representations of men in China over the past few decades, and represents combined efforts in this field and brings to fruition the authors' research activities of more than ten years. The book focuses on the question of why the effeminate scholar, exemplified by Student Zhang in the Yuan drama The Story of the Western Wing, was constructed and accepted as the ideal masculinity in pre-modern China. It concludes that the crisis of masculinity is primarily caused by a male anxiety that can be explained by the "marginality complex" of Chinese male intellectuals and is closely linked with the pursuit of modernity in modern China. Ethnographically grounded studies on Chinese masculinities in the post-Mao period are few but have been growing in recent years.

Keywords: Chinese masculinities; cultural factors; economic factors; social factors



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