Infoscience

Journal article

L’instrumentalisation de la culture populaire. Le cas de la danse du yangge en Chine

This article analyses how Chinese authorities instrumentalise popular culture with the aim of constructing a policy for governing national cultural practices. This instrumentalisation will be illustrated by the yangge dance, a popular traditional practice among the Chinese masses that has attracted the interest of the ruling elites several times within twentieth century China, notably by serving as a cornerstone for the construction of Maoist cultural policy. A historical and contextualised interpretation of the yangge dance illustrated by case studies taken from fieldwork carried out in Beijing and Shaanxi will retrace the application of this political project and the instrumentalisation of culture as an intentional strategy. The paper demonstrates how a secular ritual is taken over and transformed into a tool of political propaganda, creating a national model of entertainment; it also shows, however, how dancers are reappropriating some aspects of this practice with the emergence of a civil society.

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