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Sex, City, and the Maid: Between Socialist Fantasies and Neoliberal Parables

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  • Wanning Sun

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Abstract

Of the many rural migrant workers who go to Chinese cities as cheap labourers, the one who interacts most intimately with urban residents is the domestic servant. In fact, precisely because of this “intimate stranger†status, the figure of the “maid†has captured the imagination of the urban population. This fascination is evidenced by the plethora of television narratives centring on the fraught relationships between the rural migrant woman and her male employer. This paper analyses a range of television narratives from the genres of dramas and documentaries. It shows that in these narratives, sex functions as the metaphor of social inequality between two social groups. It shows that if we explore how love, romance and marriage are constructed, we may gain some insight into processes of social and ideological contestation in the domain of cultural production.

Suggested Citation

  • Wanning Sun, 2010. "Sex, City, and the Maid: Between Socialist Fantasies and Neoliberal Parables," Journal of Current Chinese Affairs - China aktuell, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 39(4), pages 53-69.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:chaktu:v:39:y:2010:i:4:p:53-69
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    File URL: http://hup.sub.uni-hamburg.de/giga/jcca/article/view/357
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    Keywords

    China; sex; media research; domestic worker;

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