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Durham University

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Publication details

Cao, Qing (2010). The re-imagined West in Chinese Television: a Case Study of the CCTV Documentary Series the Rise of the Great Powers. Journal of Language and Politics 9(4): 615-633.

Author(s) from Durham


This paper examines television portrayals of the West in contemporary China, focusing on an emerging non-victimistic media discourse on modern Western history. The analysis is contextualized within the wider sociopolitical dynamics of a rising nationalism and increased space for negotiation among the different groupings of Chinese elites. The paper falls into three parts. The first investigates the discursive features of a television documentary text that constructs a fresh, positive image of the West. The second discusses critiques of the series from the perspectives of a liberal, pro-market right and anti-capitalist new left. The third part extends the analysis to the social context of the mainstream pragmatic nationalism that has risen to prominence in recent decades. The paper concludes with a discussion on tensions within differing views of the West, and a critical assessment of the fresh, non-moralistic account of the Western road to modernity.