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Chinese Popular Culture - Term Paper Example

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Student's Full Name: Professor's Name: Chinese Popular Culture (Journalism, Mass Media and Communications) 31 March 2013 (estimated word count = 1,815) Introduction Popular culture, or pop culture for short, is roughly defined as the sum total of all social practices, behaviors, attitudes, preferences and trends observable among the common people…
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Download file to see previous pages Included in pop culture are comic books, cheap newspapers such as tabloids, radio soap operas, crass television game shows, paperback novels, and shallow reality shows. The Chinese have a distinct pop culture characterized by the mix of ideas, social practices, lifestyle trends, and other mass-appeal attractions. Pop culture can sometimes gain legitimacy in normal society to become acceptable. Chinese pop culture is a thread that binds the masses of Chinese society to give them a unified sense of identity. Discussion The Chinese civilization is the world's oldest continuously existing civilization dating back five thousand years ago. As such, it has undergone several changes over this long period; popular tastes varied tremendously as years went by. However, there are a few things which make the Chinese civilization unique, among which are its cultural practices rooted in Confucian ethics, a deep respect for elders and filial obedience, and a single language based on a writing system that made it possible to have a unified Chinese identity. The one person who made all this possible was Emperor Shihuangdi (259-210 BCE) who built the now world-famous Great Wall of China, created the world's first civil service bureaucracy, the first centralized government administration, introduced coinage, unified all of China, mandated the use of only one language based on a uniform set of characters in the Chinese writing system, and still fascinates the world today with his vast terra-cotta army in his giant burial compound with some 8,000+ life-sized warriors, 400 horses, and 100 chariots to serve as “spirit army” in the afterlife, truly an enduring legacy of his dynastic rule to last “10,000 generations,” but sadly, this empire collapsed within four years after his death. Despite his short-lived empire, the various reforms he introduced survived until this day. Even in modern times, his achievements still define the Chinese cultural heritage in terms of what it means to be Chinese, an identity that endures because of universal standards in Chinese laws, written language, weights, measures, and protocols adopted by all succeeding dynasties (Muller 2) and which the present Communist rulers of China are using to help restore the Chinese pride in themselves, after two centuries being under foreign colonial powers. Emperor Qin Shihuangdi set the tone of what was pop culture with the adoption of a comprehensive set of laws, known in Chinese history as legalism, which mandated all things that can be done and cannot be done (Guo 23); although its implementation period was brief, from 221-206 BCE only, it played a key role in shaping traditional pop culture. It was a basis for government control of the whole of China in subsequent years, and continues even today. Legalism has a lingering influence because it determined the laws of the land; people of the lower classes knew what was allowed and not allowed. It was supplanted by other ideologies and religions such as Daoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Legalism was the main popular cultural ideology in ancient China, designed to exert control over the peasants; China was once primarily an agricultural economy and legalism governed all aspects of social life. Emperor Qin Shih ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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