The Construction of the Postsocialist Urban Identity: China’s Reform and Drifting Urban Population

Huimin Deng


In the transition from the socialist system to the postsocialist system since 1978, thousands of Chinese urban-to-rural migrant workers and students of socialist movements and urban laid-off workers of socialist state-owned enterprises were no longer safeguarded by Chinese government in terms of political status, job opportunities, welfare, and living standard. Struggling for returning to cities and integrating into the competitory market economy become the living dilemma of the two urban groups respectively. This paper explores the images of those troubled urban figures within both the Chinese Sixth Generation cinema and the Chinese independent documentary. It aims at exposing Chinese urban people’s drifting experience within the postsocialist social context in relation to Chinese modern cinema. The spatial and ideological drifting of troubled urban people in postsocialist China, it shall argue, derives from the transition from the socialist class struggle to the postsocialist economy-oriented reform and from the socialist planned economy to the postsocialist market economy.


urban drifters; socialist movements; social reform; ideological transformation; spatial movement

DOI: 10.6092/issn.2280-9481/8388


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