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“What do my emotions matter if mother is sad?” – Filial Piety, Heteronormative Obligations, and Social Exchanges in Beijing Gushi
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Linguistics and Philology.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

A classic among queer works of literature written in Chinese, Beijing Gushi 北京故事 was one of the first Sinophone novels to openly portray homosexual relationships in modern time. Given the first publication of an English translation of the novel in 2016, this thesis represents an attempt to shed some light on the particular connection between filial piety and queer identity in Sinophone communities, along with other unique cultural traits that make queer experiences in Sinophone societies different from their Euro-American counterparts.

The thesis is based on a close reading of Beijing Gushi, and examines how and why the main character, Chen Handong, maintains his four most important relationships in the novel. By use of a theoretical framework based on queer theory and social exchange theory – particularly concepts from the works of Judith Butler and George C. Homans – I argue that traditional expectations associated with filial piety constitute the primary element that guides the main character’s decisions regarding his personal relationships. I find that heteronormativity and material gifts play significant roles in the character’s managing of his social life. While the main character’s attitude towards his own non-heterosexuality goes from complete rejection to relative self-acceptance over the course of the novel, the majority of his important life choices and interpersonal actions are ultimately determined based on perceived social obligations related to heteronormativity and filial piety.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
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Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-324775OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-324775DiVA, id: diva2:1111398
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Chinese
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Available from: 2018-01-22 Created: 2017-06-18 Last updated: 2018-01-22Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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More styles
Language
  • de-DE
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  • en-US
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  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • asciidoc
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