Politics of Love in 2010s China

Talk by Jean-Baptiste Pettier, University of Cologne, Germany

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Since almost a century, the issue of the importance of love in China has generated moral debates and been the base of many political arguments. The last decade made no exception with its controversies concerning the phenomenon of public marriage markets (相亲角), the (im)morality of dating tv-shows like 'If you are the one' (非诚勿扰), but also heated discussions on the level of morality and sentimentality of the new generations. This, through countless questions — from their difficulties to find a partner to their high divorce rate — is becoming an issue of public concern and social scrutiny. In this presentation, I would like to come back to these issues from a counter viewpoint, by analyzing them as a mode of social distinction and as a way of assigning moral norms in a fast diversifying society. I will question the role played by the state in the establishment of this new elites' morality, but also what we can learn from the importance attributed to the issue of love in China from an anthropological perspective.

Jean-Baptiste Pettier is currently a Postdoc at the Department of Cultural and Social Anthropology of the University of Cologne (Germany). He holds a PhD in social anthropology from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris, France), and is as well graduated in sociology, in political sciences and in Chinese language. His main research thematics concern emotions, affect, sentiments, and morality, in relation with marriage, politics, social organization ; and more recently in link with environmental ethics and the care for animals.

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Published: Thursday, November 10, 2016