The other goes to market: The state, the nation, and unruliness in contemporary China

Louisa Schein

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18 Scopus citations


Nations/states are conventionally portrayed as producers of hegemonic or normalizing codes for gender and sexuality. This essay, on the contrary, explores circumstances under which the nation/state might tolerate, if not support, the proliferation of unruly difference. Examining the case of post-Mao China, the author first traces normalizing discourses of sexual and gender impropriety directed at particular others throughout Chinese history. She then analyzes the multiplication of discourses and practices in the post-1979 reform period, as well as counter-discourses generated by members of the historically vilified Miao minority, thus pluralizing the sites from which nationalist ideological production is seen to emerge. It is argued that, as the contrastive other shifts, so too do formulations of appropriate gender and sexual conduct. Finally, the market-with its burgeoning production and consumption of commodities - is posed as an alternative form of rule to which the Chinese state may have partially relinquished its control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-222
Number of pages26
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


  • China
  • Commodity
  • Gender
  • Minority
  • Othering
  • Sexuality


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