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Patriarchal capitalism with Chinese characteristics: gendered discourse of ‘Double Eleven’ shopping festival

Meng, Bingchun and Huang, Yanning (2017) Patriarchal capitalism with Chinese characteristics: gendered discourse of ‘Double Eleven’ shopping festival. Cultural Studies, 31 (5). 659 - 684. ISSN 0950-2386

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Identification Number: 10.1080/09502386.2017.1328517


In this article we consider the Double Eleven shopping festival as a major discursive site where the hegemony of what we call patriarchal capitalism with Chinese characteristics is articulated. The state, the market, the corporations, and the media, both mainstream and social media, all played an important role in building up a national spending spree that is deeply embedded in the current class and gender structure of China. The phenomenon of Double Eleven emerged at a time when state capitalism has been overwriting socialist institutions, while patriarchal ideology being further intensified through consumerism. As a consequence, the intersectionality of class and gender become increasingly manifest in the Chinese society. We start with a brief overview of the trajectory of gender politics in China since 1949, with specific focus on how the socialist project of seeking gender equality was gradually replaced by the quest for ‘womanhood’ and ‘femininity’. We then discuss, using both secondary sources and our own analysis of news coverage of Double Eleven, why maintaining a high level of consumer demand is of crucial importance for the Chinese state and what the state’s role has been in configuring the hegemonic gender order. A brief section on ideology and discourse lays out the conceptual framework of our analysis. It is at the intersection of a dissipating socialist ethos, emerging economic stagnation and ascending consumerism that the sexist discourse in relation to Double Eleven proliferates, and this is the analytical focus of our empirical section. We elaborate on the theoretical implications of the empirical analysis before concluding.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 Informa UK Limited © CC BY 4.0
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS Asia
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Date Deposited: 03 May 2017 12:11
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:30

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