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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractInspired by Michael Foucault’s "technologies of the self" and Jacques Rancière's idea of the politics of aesthetics, specifically, his concept of "the distribution of the sensible", this thesis examines two groups of people who actively pursue creativity in China today: first, a group of Chinese youth who seek their identity as creative writers through their participation in the Xin Gainian Zuowen Dasai, or the New Concept Writing Competition, held by Mengya magazine since 1998; second, a group of men and women who are grouped together under the name of "Dafen painters", who pursue their creative identities as oil painters either for their own artistic dreams or for better lives. Through these two cases, this thesis explores the relationship between creative practices and individuals’ identity formation, and attempts to achieve a better understanding of how the formation of these identities relate to broader desires for creative identity in China’s society today. This paper argues that an individual's own desire for creative expression and recognition in fact acts to diminish their ability to engage in truly creative expression, and that the attempts at recognition reconfigure groups to block individuals from finding opportunities to express their creative identities.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
East Asian Studies