This book surveys the explosive youth culture in twenty-first century China, an active and powerful force catalysing cultural innovations, social changes, and collective efforts, re-inventing a pluralistic and multivalent youth (qingnian) in an age of enormous change, division and uncertainty.

Providing a comprehensive analysis of literary, cinematic, musical, televisual, and social media representations about, for and by disparate youth groups, this book seeks to offer a systematic investigation of a trans-medial and multi-locale youth culture. In so doing, it examines contributions from high school dropouts, industrial workers, migrant laborers and "leftover women", as well as best-selling writers and filmmakers, cultural entrepreneurs, queer idols and fans, and young feminist activists. Observing the Chinese youths’ deployment of "small" genres, such as light novels and short videos, in addition to digital media, this book ultimately demonstrates the renewal of cultural forms and the transformative power of networked "small" atomized individuals in reinventing a youthful coalition of silenced, belittled, and marginalized groups.

A thoroughly interdisciplinary study, Youth Economy, Crisis, and Reinvention in Twenty-First-Century China will be useful to students and scholars of Chinese culture and society, as well as Literary Studies, Cultural Studies, Gender Studies and Media Studies.

chapter 1|29 pages


Youth culture in three keys

chapter 2|27 pages

Youth economy in the “China Dream”

Rise of the Me-generation creative class

chapter 3|36 pages

Against the proletarian modernity

Retrotopic journey and precariat subject in alternative youth literature

chapter 4|36 pages

Back to youth on the wings of music

Prosthetic memories and sonic nostalgia for an unlived past

chapter 5|35 pages

“We are creating a spokesperson for ourselves”

Queering and un-queering young idols on networked small screens

chapter 6|47 pages

Political economy of small

Cross-cultural and transmedial shojo manga (girls' comics) aesthetics

chapter |6 pages


Reinventing the discourse of hope in an age of crisis