This article analyses the modern historical trajectory of the word fendou (奋斗, ‘struggle’), from its emergence in the early twentieth century to the present. Originally embedded in a Social Darwinist philosophy of struggle, fendou was later co-opted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). As one of its key ideological shibboleths, it was typically used to mobilize the Chinese people to ‘struggle’ for the goals of the nation. However, as these goals varied significantly in the course of the history of the People's Republic of China (PRC), the actual meanings and uses of fendou evolved accordingly, following shifts in the ideological paradigms that characterized the different eras. By studying how this term was used as an ideological keyword over time, it is possible to observe the continuities and discontinuities in the visions of struggle, and the relevant ‘pedagogies of struggle’, promoted in different periods by the Chinese state. The article, in particular, analyses the use of fendou in both contemporary official discourse and popular culture, suggesting that in promoting the formation of a competitive subject in line with the aims of the ‘socialist market’, fendou still, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, expresses and disseminates a predominantly Social Darwinist world view.

Fendou: A keyword of Chinese modernity

Fumian Marco
2021

Abstract

This article analyses the modern historical trajectory of the word fendou (奋斗, ‘struggle’), from its emergence in the early twentieth century to the present. Originally embedded in a Social Darwinist philosophy of struggle, fendou was later co-opted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). As one of its key ideological shibboleths, it was typically used to mobilize the Chinese people to ‘struggle’ for the goals of the nation. However, as these goals varied significantly in the course of the history of the People's Republic of China (PRC), the actual meanings and uses of fendou evolved accordingly, following shifts in the ideological paradigms that characterized the different eras. By studying how this term was used as an ideological keyword over time, it is possible to observe the continuities and discontinuities in the visions of struggle, and the relevant ‘pedagogies of struggle’, promoted in different periods by the Chinese state. The article, in particular, analyses the use of fendou in both contemporary official discourse and popular culture, suggesting that in promoting the formation of a competitive subject in line with the aims of the ‘socialist market’, fendou still, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, expresses and disseminates a predominantly Social Darwinist world view.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11574/195360
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