Citizen-to-citizen Connectivity and Soft Power: The Appropriation of Subcultures in ‘Little Freshness’ Across the Taiwan Strait
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AbstractThis article takes as its object of analysis the term ‘little freshness’ (xiao qingxin 小清新), which has been coined to describe a variety of cultural products and phenomena, mostly emanating from Taiwan but circulating across the Taiwan Strait. It argues that ‘little freshness’ is a manifestation of youth subculture that also bespeaks a form of soft power that is initiated, appropriated, and consumed by citizens. This citizen-to-citizen connectivity reworks Joseph Nye’s notion of soft power by shifting the focus away from state agents and by reversing the direction of soft power flows to the sites of reception. The article provides two case studies to demonstrate how an imaginary about Taiwan’s ‘cleanness’, ‘clearness’, and ‘freshness’ has been projected upon by the media in the People’s Republic of China as a form of discursive construction and by Hong Kong citizens as a desirable destination for emigration. Finally, the article situates the ‘little freshness’ phenomenon back in the context of Taiwan, suggesting that it can be seen as part of a propensity towards miniaturization in cultural formation in the region, and that this propensity is inflected in a structure of feeling about generational injustice in the face of neoliberal capitalism.
Acceptance Date18/09/2018
All Author(s) ListLim Song Hwee
Journal nameChina Information
PublisherSAGE Publications
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom
Keywordssoft power, Taiwan Strait, ‘little freshness’, citizen-to-citizen, youth, structure of feeling, connectivity, subcultures

Last updated on 2020-15-01 at 03:04