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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Briankle Chang

Second Advisor

Henry Geddes

Third Advisor

Enhua Zhang

Subject Categories



The dissertation, through a semiotic reading of familial imagery in CCTV's Spring Festival Gala, explores the new propaganda and its effects on Chinese people's political subjectivity, against the background combining the dying Communist ideology, the rise of neoliberalism, the proliferating social technologies, and the tremendous human dislocation in contemporary China. Particularly, informed by cultural studies and ethnographic methods, this research project explores how the post-collectivism party-state insists on a mirror image of the collectivism through constructing the country as a singular super "family" form the olden time, as exemplified in the televised spectacle - CCTV's Spring Festival Gala. In the meantime, the Gala also dramatizes the party-state's inability to form together a seamless and unproblematic unity, as shown by the close readings of the audience reception. In other words, although "family" enjoys a superior position in Chinese politics and society as it is rooted in commonly shared social values and in Chinese's everyday conceptual system, upholding the "many in one" idea which reflects the legacy of the previously-dominant ideological framework, actually invokes complex and uneasy relationship between the party-state and the ordinary Chinese people. The core of this research is to "return to the individual" as Havel suggests, to help people understand politics, as well as culture, in relation to themselves individually,


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