Title: More than a Costume: Hanfu Fever and the Discourses on Chinese Cultural Nationalism and Identity
Stream: Politics/ political Studies/ Political Sciences
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Tom Harper, University of Surrey, United Kingdom
The rise of 'Hanfu Fever' has been one of the recurring trends on Chinese social media, with the number of Hanfu enthusiasts exceeding two million in 2018, which in turn has created an industry worth $156 million. This coincides with a wider discussion over the shape of China’s identity, which has been marked by an emphasis on the uniqueness of Chinese identity as well as presenting China as a civilizational entity rather than simply being a nation-state, as codified by Liu Mingfu’s The China Dream and Zhang Weiwei’s China Wave. All of these indicate a more exceptionalist tone as well as presenting a cultural rather than a political form of Chinese identity. The purpose of this paper is to explore the rise of the Hanfu movement in China and the wider trends it has been expressive of. This was examined through the framework of cultural transmission to explore the political, social, and demographic trends that have underpinned the movement. As a result, it was found that the growth of ‘Hanfu Fever’ has been driven by Chinese millennials who grew up in the period of China’s economic development. This has bestowed them with confidence in expressing their unique identity. These have been expressive of a growing discussion over the future of China’s global identity as well as the influence of China’s millennials in shaping political and social trends in China and beyond.
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