Dissertation
Dissertation > Culture, science,education, sports > Cultural Theory > The relationship between culture and other subjects

Study on Cultural Hegemony Infiltrated in Mulan and Kung Fu Panda Based on Encoding/De-coding Theory with Orientalism Perspective

Author ZhanLiJuan
Tutor YanJingLan
School East China University of Science and Technology
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Orientalism American Animated Film Encoding/Decoding Cultural Hegemony Intercultural Communication
CLC G05
Type Master's thesis
Year 2014
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Based on theories of Orientalism presented by Edward Said and encoding/decoding by Stuart Hall, this thesis is a study of the cultural hegemony infiltrated in Mulan and Kung Fu Panda which are permeated with both Chinese and American cultural elements.Said holds that Orientalism essentially explains the power relation between the West and the East in which the former controls the latter with hegemony. With the strong economic and political power, America tends to transmit and infiltrate its core cultural values and ideologies all around the world by insisting on "American exceptionalism". Hollywood films, the symbol of American culture, play an indispensable role in promoting American cultural values and ideologies, but the image of non-western countries are often distorted in them. Thus gradually, the East is marginalized and turned into the Other and the gap between the image of the East and the West becomes difficult to bridge.Based on an analysis of the Chinese and American cultural elements in Mulan and Kung Fu Panda covering characterization, scenes and props as well as traditional culture included in27scenarios, the author of the thesis intends to set forth with Orientalism perspective the essence of American cultural hegemony in the films despite the fact that the manifestation of hegemony in these two films turns from tangible and intense to intangible and moderate due to the rise of China politically and economically. The research shows that the film Mulan has absolutely subverted the image of traditional Chinese mulan and replaced traditional Chinese cultural values with American’s. Moreover, images of the dragon and Chinese women are distorted and smeared which are tinged with strong sense of Orientalism and cultural hegemony. Kung Fu Panda which was shot ten years later shows a better understanding of Chinese culture with its vivid representation of Chinese cultural elements which, to some extent, draws close the film and Chinese viewers. However, it still follows the American narrative mode of realizing American dream and is infiltrated with American core values such as individual heroism, independence and self-confidence. Chinese cultural elements are just presented at the superficial level of the film. And it is the deeper level of American values such as self-belief and self-worth that guarantees the success of the Dragon Warrior. Therefore, Kung Fu Panda is still tinged with firm sense of cultural hegemony.Moreover, the author analyzes the secret behind the cultural hegemony by applying the encoding/decoding theory, namely, trying to gain the cultural identity of Chinese viewers by the first encoding of Chinese cultural elements and then infiltrating their dominant cultural code (American cultural elements) with re-encoding to realize cultural hegemony.

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