Training the Body for China: Sports in the Moral Order of the People's Republic

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University of Chicago Press, 1995 - Sports & Recreation - 393 pages
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Competing in the 1986 National College Games of the People's Republic of China, Susan Brownell earned both a gold medal in the heptathlon and fame throughout China as "the American girl who won glory for Beijing University." Now an anthropologist, Brownell draws on her direct experience of Chinese athletics in this fascinating look at the culture of sports and the body in China.

Training the Body for China is the first book on Chinese sports based on extended fieldwork by a Westerner. Brownell introduces the notion of "body culture" to analyze Olympic sports as one element in a whole set of Chinese body practices: the "old people's disco dancing" craze, the new popularity of bodybuilding (following reluctant official acceptance of the bikini), mass calisthenics, martial arts, military discipline, and more.

Translating official and dissident materials into English for the first time and drawing on performance theory and histories of the body, Brownell uses the culture of the body as a focal point to explore the tensions between local and global organizations, the traditional and the modern, men and women. Her intimate knowledge of Chinese social and cultural life and her wide range of historic examples make Training the Body for China a unique illustration of how gender, the body, and the nation are interlinked in Chinese culture.
 

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Contents

Winning Glory for Beijing
3
Historical Overview
34
i Public Culture
67
Body Culture and Consumer Culture
99
Qing Dynasty Grand Sacrifice and Communist
120
Class Culture and Body Culture
153
Those Who Work with Their Brains Rule
180
Sex the Body and History in Chinese
213
Bodies Boundaries and the State
238
Body Culture in Social Change
263
Face and Fair Play
289
Select Glossary of Chinese Terms and Names
325
References
355
Index
375
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About the author (1995)

Susan Brownell is assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Missouri, St. Louis.

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