Daughters of the Motherland and (Wo)men of the World. Global Mobility in Shishang (Trends/Cosmopolitan), 1993–2008

  • Adina Zemanek
Keywords: flexible citizenship, cosmopolitanism, global mobility, woman image, Shishang, nationalism


The present paper undertakes a discourse analysis of  Shishang (the PRC edition of Cosmopolitan) and assesses the extent to which this magazine promotes Western consumerism instead of strengthening a local national character, as Chinese scholars impute. I explore the evolution of  Shishang’s approach to globalization, as reflected in articles from 1993 to 2008, and focus on global mobility as a dimension of the image of women constructed in the magazine. Throughout this period,  Shishang seeks to stimulate the imagination of its readers (in Arjun Appadurai’s terms) by presenting them with experiences, attitudes and life scenarios that increasingly conform to John Tomlinson’s concept of cosmopolitanism and Aihwa Ong’s idea of flexible citizenship. The PRC’s Cosmo women “link up with the tracks of the world” by actively pursuing career development and self-fulfillment in a global context while opportunistically employing available resources, a process accompanied by a growing openness to and understanding of other cultures.  Shishang not only depicts them as women of the world, but also strongly emphasizes their Chineseness, thus doubly complying with the ideological task of the media in the PRC. My study thus proves the above-mentioned criticism to be largely unfounded, but not entirely so –  Shishang’s recent issues promote a model of lifestyle whose overt rejection of materialism in favor of spiritual values are built upon the consumption of expensive global tourism experiences.


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Author Biography

Adina Zemanek

ADINA ZEMANEK is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Middle and Far Eastern Studies, the Jagiellonian University, Krakow. She graduated in Sinology at the University of Bucharest and obtained her PhD degree in cultural anthropology at the Jagiellonian University. Her research interests focus on texts of popular culture, which she approaches within the frameworks of discourse analysis and grounded theory. She has been awarded a Taiwan Fellowship, conducted research as a Visiting Scholar at the Academia Sinica Institute of Sociology (February–October 2014) and is currently working on a project concerning the construction of Taiwaneseness and national identity in contemporary popular culture (tourist souvenirs, comic books and films). She has written about the image of women in mainland Chinese popular culture (fashion and lifestyle magazines, TV series); her recent publications include the monograph Córki Chin i obywatelki świata. Obraz kobiety w chińskich czasopismach o modzie [Daughters of China and Citizens of the World. The Image of Women in Chinese Fashion Magazines, in Polish],Krakow: Księgarnia Akademicka, 2013.

How to Cite
Zemanek, A. (2016). Daughters of the Motherland and (Wo)men of the World. Global Mobility in Shishang (Trends/Cosmopolitan), 1993–2008. Archiv orientální, 84(2), 317-347. https://doi.org/10.47979/aror.j.84.2.317-347
Research Article