Dissertation > Literature > Chinese Literature > The body of literature reviews and research > Novel > New Novel

The Anxiety of Identity Conversion in the Process of Urbanization

Author MaJunYa
Tutor HuangJian
School Zhejiang University
Course Contemporary Chinese Literature
Keywords Urban Novels Urbanization the Anxiety of Identity Spiritual Homeland
CLC I207.42
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
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Chinese urban fictions since the mid-1980s were born and developed during the course of modernization, especially urbanization. Urbanization, not only changes the whole structure of China’s politics, economy and culture, but also reshapes Chinese people’s inner world. Chinese people, whose hearts were long occupied by the memories of country, small town and traditional city life, regard the entry of modern city as a conversion of identity.This paper, based on the issue of identity conversion during the process of urbanization, analyzes the profound impact on citizen’s identity perception and cultural identity that is caused by the modern transformation of Chinese cities. Developing along the line of the relationship between people and city, this paper divides the major figures of urban fictions into three categories and separately discusses the identity anxiety they meet during their transition to modern citizen. The first is the natives who were born and grew up in cities, whose identity anxiety stems from the disappearance of superiority; the second is the people from rural areas who hope to earn their livings in city, but end up in an awkward situation that cannot be accepted by the city; the last is the new urbanites who were born somewhere else but have earned a permanent residence in cities, whose anxiety originates from the loss of humanity and self-alienation caused by material desire. These three kinds of people resort to three different ways to release their anxiety-the past, the future, and the addictively opulent city life, which all lead to the goal of integrating into urban culture. Therefore, to some extent, the identity anxiety of citizens during transition period implies city-oriented cultural nostalgia. In other words, people living in cities, though cannot completely realize themselves or integrate themselves into urban culture, have a deep desire for city life. This nostalgia also symbolizes a historical diversion in the development of Chinese people’s rural complex, that is, homeland not only lies in rural areas, but may also be constructed in cities.

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