Elegant and Militarized: Ceremonial Volunteers and the Making of New Women Citizens in China
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AbstractThis article examines how Chinese national values are imparted to and through the recent phenomenon of ceremonial volunteers or etiquette volunteers (liyi zhiyuan). These volunteers are all young college women who serve at major national events by greeting guests, ushering, and holding ceremonial ribbons. They are supposed to embody Confucian ritual values and the practices of propriety that define China as a nation of civilization through their roles as ceremonial hostesses. This feminine symbol of national tradition and cultural virtues is realized through a heavy emphasis on discipline, physical training, compliance to authority, and collectivism expressed through the ways the performances are staged and mass mediated. This article argues that the ceremonial volunteer represents a new state effort to engineer a model woman citizen by combining the Confucian discourse on etiquette, the communist party-state discourse on militarization and strong womanhood, the communist sport tradition of body training, and the latest initiatives on volunteering. The result is the making of gendered national subjects, marking new values of class, femininity, and nationalism. This article contributes to the understanding of emergent values about gender, class, volunteering, and the important roles they play in the process of citizen making in today's China.
All Author(s) ListKa-ming Wu
Journal nameJournal of Asian Studies
Year2018
Month2
Volume Number77
Issue Number1
Pages205 - 223
ISSN0021-9118
eISSN1752-0401
LanguagesEnglish-United States
KeywordsChina, citizen-making, etiquette training, gendered nationalism, mega events, volunteering

Last updated on 2020-06-08 at 03:25