Tongzhi is the contemporary urban Chinese term that men who have sex with other men use to describe themselves. This book describes their lives through an ethnographic study conducted by the author in Dalian, a city in northeast China. The author is a Chinese woman who did not enter the US until graduate school, and became an anthropology professor at a US university. Her native experience of the language and culture allows her a unique level of access to the lives of the men in the study, who hide their orientation, face huge social stigma, and meet partners at cruising spots in parks. The book's introductory chapter includes some theoretical material on competing ideas of whether a Western concept of gay identity and liberation is universal, or whether each culture is unique in its sense of same sex desire. The majority of the book simply describes Tongzhi life from a sympathetic and embedded anthropological perspective, with profiles and quotes from individual men. The author explains that Tongzhi men simultaneously accept that heterosexual life is normal and aspire to it, and try to establish a Tongzhi culture. She is the author of a previous book on women's sex work in China, and discusses the general concept of a Chinese cultural tension between social conforming and individual needs. Annotation ©2015 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)
Tongzhi, which translates into English as ?same purpose? or ?same will,? was once widely used to mean ?comrade.? Since the 1990s, however, the word has been appropriated by the LGBT community and now refers to a broad range of people who do not espouse heteronormativity.
Tongzhi Living, the first study of its kind, offers insights into the community of same-sex-attracted men in the metropolitan city of Dalian in northeast China. Based on ethnographic fieldwork by Tiantian Zheng, the book reveals an array of coping mechanisms developed by tongzhi men in response to rapid social, cultural, and political transformations in postsocialist China. According to Zheng, unlike gay men in the West over the past three decades, tongzhi men in China have adopted the prevailing moral ideal of heterosexuality and pursued membership in the dominant culture at the same time they have endeavored to establish a tongzhi culture. They are, therefore, caught in a constant tension of embracing and contesting normality as they try to create a new and legitimate space for themselves.
Tongzhi men?s attempts to practice both conformity and rebellion paradoxically undercut the goals they aspire to reach, Zheng shows, perpetuating social prejudice against them and thwarting the activism they believe they are advocating.
Number of Pages: 244
Genre: Social Science
Sub-Genre: Anthropology / Cultural, Gender Studies
Publisher: Univ of Minnesota Pr
Author: Tiantian Zheng
Street Date: October 1, 2015
Item Number (DPCI): 247-48-8243