Breaking Up From What?

The Corporeal Politics of Values in the Duanlie yundong (Rupture Movement)

Melinda Pirazzoli    Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna, Italia    



This study, which provides close readings of short stories written by 朱文 (1967-), Han Dong 韩东 (1961-) and Dong Xi (1966-), major exponents of a Nanjing-based group of writers called Duanlie 断裂 (Rupture), suggests that for these writers the body is represented in terms of human capital (suzhi 素质) in a way that resonates well with what the political scientist Crawford Brough Macpherson has defined as «possessive individualism». In fact, their characters’ individual private body is for them the most important capital as well as the primary object of self-investment; they owe nothing to society; they regard personal relations as market relations breaking free from traditional kinship bonds and, finally, they regard themselves as «proprietor of themselves». What these middle-class intellectuals introduce in their writings is the newly-born middle-class consumer willing to celebrate, as Paterson says, «carnivalesque consuming bodies celebrating popular pleasures, not of the mind, but of the body» (2005, 105).

June 27, 2019
June 11, 2019
April 5, 2019

Keywords: BodyChinese ValuesRupture MovementPossessive IndividualismChinese Middle-class Consumers

Copyright: © 2019 Melinda Pirazzoli. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.