SOAS University of London

Centre of Taiwan Studies

Mapping Taiwan's Pop Music in China: Mediation, Nations and Politics

Dr Stanley Chun-Ming Huang

Date: 19 November 2019Time: 7:00 PM

Finishes: 19 November 2019Time: 9:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: RG01

Type of Event: Talk

Chun-Ming Huan Talk


Despite political confrontation and identity entanglement across the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan’s pop music has gained long-term popularity in China, which presents a question that merits further investigation. The study explores the ways that Chinese audience-members and the media have negotiated and practised the work of ‘imagined communities’ through Taiwan’s pop. It focuses on the struggles between the sacred and the profane when locating Taiwan’s pop in China, its mediation, and consumption as a cultural practice. The study suggests that deliberative mediation and sociable mediation are able to coexist through the process of music consumption.

It examines the experiences of Chinese fans of Taiwan’s pop living in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou in 2013-2014 and 2019. Three influential media texts are discussed: 1) Chinese Central Television’s (CCTV’s) New Year’s Gala (1984–2014); 2) the magazine People’s Music (1980–2014); 3) Li Wan’s book, How Much Time has Gone By, the Forgotten Sorrow: Sixty years of Songs Across Three Places: China’s Mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

This study suggests developing a ‘relational’ perspective of Taiwan-and-China to identify the connection and contradiction between two in terms of national identity and identity vis-à-vis music, so that the music listening experience can be rendered into a political experience.

The study reflects on some limits and problems when applied to the study of Taiwan and China, and proposes that music consumption requires the engagement of social biographies of both the audience-members and the musical production in order to ‘activate’ the social use of music. It draws on Raymond Williams’s concept of ‘common culture’ as well as Chantal Mouffe’s idea of agonistic pluralism to suggest that Taiwanese pop may become a resource for a common culture in its fundamental sense, meaning the practice of a coexisting contested and common culture, yet sometimes also signalling resistance. 


Speaker Biography

Chen-Ming Huang

Dr Stanley Chun-Ming Huang is Assistant Professor in the College of Communication at National Chengchi University in Taiwan. He received his Master’s degree in Sociology at the London School of Economics (LSE), and Ph.D. degree in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh. Huang’s research focus has been on Cultural and Political Sociology, Nationalism and Consumption, Popular Music and Art Music, Media Studies and Practices. Before becoming an academic, Huang worked as a journalist specialising in culture and politics for Taiwan’s United Daily News, during which time he twice won the prestigious Vivian Wu Journalism Award. Huang’s book Music: Culture, Politics and Performance was published in Taipei (2010, 2015). He is currently conducting the project ‘Taiwanese Popular Music in China: Restructuring Nations, Mediation, and Structure of Feeling’, funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology of Taiwan.

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Organiser: SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies

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