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Gamberini, Federica (2022) A study of 80-hou writers: Youth narrative, multimodality, and subjectivity in 21st-century Chinese youth literature. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Common critiques surrounding the balinghou cultural phenomenon often qualify their literary work as bestsellers lacking any appreciable literary or social value. The incredible commercial success of their fiction combined with the idol-like personality of many members of the group (Guo Jingming, Zhang Yueran, and Han Han) has often brought attention to questions regarding how the market has changed the status and field of literary production in China. Yet, because of this, scholars have failed to interrogate these writers’ works collectively to find patterns in how youth subjectivity is represented in these works and how these patterns relate to the targeted subcultural group. It is with the intention of filling this gap that this study on balinghou young-adult fiction investigates the cultural phenomenon to define the function and purposes of balinghou youth narrative. Starting by acknowledging that balinghou writers live at a time when they have access to a variety of modes of communication, this project employs Gunther Kress’ sociosemiotic approach to multimodality as a framework to analyse the close relationship between how balinghou young adult fiction represents youth subjectivity and the characteristic of the environment of communication of today China’s youth. In exploring this relationship, the aim is to define patterns in how these writers perceive visual modes of communication as part of their literary works to address their generation’s needs to escape from the social pressures experienced by young people in the post-opening China.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Xiaoning Lu and Wen-Chin Ouyang
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2022 11:43

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