12. February 2019 - 16:30 till 18:30
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Making the Vigilant Citizens: Gender and the Excess of Policing in China | Room 450 | Tuesday, 12. February 2019

Making the Vigilant Citizens: Gender and the Excess of Policing in China
 Ka-ming Wu
Chinese University of Hong Kong
Abstract: Known as “Chaoyang Masses” (chaoyang qunzhong) or Westside **** (Xicheng dama) in popular media, community volunteers are widely reported to have caught drug addicts or exposed underground brothels for the police in Beijing, capital city of China. Community volunteers are composed of retired men and women who perform street patrolling in residential neighborhoods. According to official estimate, there are close to two hundred thousand of them in Beijing. Many would call them neighborhood level governing agents for the party state but volunteers themselves speak of their service in terms of social contribution and honor. Based on interviews with a group of community volunteers, media representation of them, and netizens online discussion, I discuss how policing has become a highly gendered process and its effect of excess amidst social change. This paper is based on a broader project I am conducting on volunteers and urban identities in China. I hope to understand how volunteering is complexly constitutive to emerging public cultural values, gender and class subjectivities, and nationalist belongings in today’s China.
About the speaker: Ka-ming Wu is an Associate Professor in the Department of Cultural and Religious Studies at Chinese University of Hong Kong. Trained as a cultural anthropologist, she has taken up extensive ethnographic research to examine the cultural politics of state and society, waste, and most recently, gender and nationalism in contemporary China. Her book monograph Reinventing Chinese Tradition: The Cultural Politics of Late Socialism (UIP 2015) argues the nature of cultural production in rural China today can thought in terms of a “hyper folk,’ in which ritual practices, performances, heritage, craft productions, and other reenactments of the traditional can no longer be viewed as either simulations or authentic originals, but a field where a whole range of social contests, contradictions, and changes are being negotiated. Her co-authored book Feiping Shenghuo: Lajichang De Jingji, Shequn Yu Kongjian (CUHK 2016) (Living with Waste: Economies, Communities and Spaces of Waste Collectors in China) has a great impact on the public discussion of waste and has been covered by major media. Ka-ming Wu has kept writing about social change and identity politics in Hong Kong. Her latest publication on Hong Kong concerns the Mapopo farm and young people’s engagement with agriculture as a form of resistance politics. Her academic papers were published in high impact journals including Journal of Asian Studies, Modern China, The China Journal, Cities, Urban Geography, Ethnology, and Taiwan: The Radical Journal of Social Studies.