Breaking Up From What?
The Corporeal Politics of Values in the Duanlie yundong (Rupture Movement)
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).