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The Ideological Transformation of the Icon Chairman Mao during the Four Modernisations period: As illustrated by "Melody of Youth, Beautiful Soul"
Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Chinese.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

After Chairman Mao's death, in the late 1980's, Mao was removed from official government communications and his iconography transformed from having a specific meaning generation role linked to Maoist ideology, to becoming available for use as a commodity. In this research I use cultural theorist Jacques Derrida's theory of Hauntology and the deconstruction method to analyse a representative Chinese Propaganda poster, "Melody of Youth, Beautiful Soul", in order to ascertain the effect Mao's death had on the Iconography of Chairman Mao, and how Mao is ideologically transformed during this period.

Analysing the painting I found specific symbols associated with the iconography of Mao that had been adopted and transformed for the purposes of the CCP. These symbols both suggested the presence of Chairman Mao, as well as negated that presence through being co-opted for other purposes.

Using these symbols and writings about the period I deduced that during this period the CCP had to rely on existing symbols of power and authority in order to communicate and legitimise regime change whilst maintaining the semblance of continuity. At the same time they had to decouple these symbols from their original meanings in order to distance themselves from the past and redefine the ideology of China.

In the process, Mao's iconography was decoupled from its Maoist ideological heritage and transformed into abstract symbols of power, doctrine and so on. This means that the transformation had made them available to use as an "open basket" into which new, related meanings could be placed – including serving as a commodity.

Abstract [zh]




分析这段时间所使用的这些符号,以及阅读关于?四个现代化?的文章, 我发现,在?四化?时期,为了传达政权转换的合法性,以及保持其政权连续性的假象,不得不依靠已经存在的政治符号。同时为了把实用主义放在政治理论的核心中, 他们也要从旧的思想限制中解放出来,所以他们需要把某些与毛泽东有关的符指从符征里分离出来。


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Chinese, China, Deconstruction, Iconography, Mao Zedong, Iconographic transformation, Ideology, Maoism, Four Modernisations, Hauntology
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URN: urn:nbn:se:du-23243OAI: diva2:1033325
Available from: 2016-10-06 Created: 2016-10-06

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