(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)
Heyang Rural Research Institute: On March 24th, 2019, the theme of the parallel forum relating to Heyang Forum (11) was ‘Re-understanding Local Society’. This field of research was hosted by respected teacher Gong Weiliang (龚伟亮) from the Communication University of China, and Associate Professor Zhang Zhihua (张志华) also of the Communication University of China – both of whom provided a commentary and review of all the work presented.
Lu Yantong (陆彧童), a graduate student from the Communication University of China, found that in the past 40 years of reform and opening up, agricultural film screenings have become an important part of building a new Socialist countryside. There are problems in the remote areas, such as difficulty in screening, supporting facilities, and insufficient funds, but the most important thing is the willingness of the audience, and the issue of low attendance rates in sme areas. Lu Yutong used this as a starting point. From the perspective of cultural contact theory and communication theory, she expanded this understanding of government, society and market as a developed perspective, and used the dual analysis framework of big tradition and small tradition as a point of reference and of perspective, combined with the DMCC announcement. Rural film projection data, policies and sample interviews with farmers, explain the characteristics and spatial significance of rural open-air movies, whilst exploring the improvement of rural film screening and enhancing farmers’ willingness to participate in public cultural activities.
The second reporter was Li Xing (黎星), a graduate student at the College of Liberal Arts of Jiangxi Normal University. Li Xing (and her fellow students) surveyed the village committee election process in several sample villages – focusing upon the issue of farmers’ behavior and mentality during the village committee election process. It was thus found that the current dilemma of rural elections and autonomy lies in the mismatch between the modern democratic system and the traditional cultural mentality. Facing the separation between the two, Li Xing pointed out that on the one hand, electoral democracy and deliberative democracy are combined to build pluralism. On the other hand, the electoral system must be guided by new media, with a view to realizing the dual recognition of the rural electoral system and philosophy.
Zheng Lai (郑来), from the School of Journalism and Communication, Pingdingshan University, uses non-fiction literature as a means to address the cultural gap in the study of rural society. From the literary works, she notices the survival of rural left-behind children, the poverty of rural education resources, and the rural youth stuck between urban perception and peasant identity. The dilemma, the disorder between the ‘acquaintance society’ and public affairs, and the dying of the country house. In the face of these problems, Zheng Lai wrote from the perspective of the post-70s authors group to talk about the local narrative in the history of modern and contemporary Chinese literature, and pointed out that humanities literature needs to participae within sociological research, so that cultural studies can be introduced as more in-depth topics used to explore the native land, cultural identity and social development.
After the report, Teacher Zhang Zhihua commented on the three reporters. Regarding the issue of film going to the countryside, Mr. Zhang affirmed the article’s attention to collective memory, but the article was slightly insufficient in terms of explanatory power. The film medium was taken to the countryside evolve the (old) culture and develop it into a property of Socialist public goods, but from the past – tens of thousands of people to the current few people – the issue of (old) culture being marginalized as a matter of public good needs to be considered; Li Xing’s article revolves around grassroots elections. It is necessary to pay attention to the relationship between sample selection and problem awareness, to avoid the cultural essentialism tendency in the process of argumentation. In addition, if the village committee election (local democracy) is not integrated with the people’s commune (centralised democracy), the village collective will not be dominant, and the implementation of the contract responsibility system with the city will be problematc. Considering the differentiation of rural interests brought about by the advancement of reforms, it is difficult to find the crux of the problem; based on the commonality of research perspectives, literature also explores the subjective attribution of the countryside. Teacher Zhang proposes to examine the contextual relationship between non-fiction literature and factual reportage. On the above, and the use of the term ‘female writer’ in the essay, it may be necessary to analyze the meaning of the female writer’s local narrative. Through the papers of the three reporters, Mr. Zhang further pointed out how the creators/researchers access the grassroots level is a question that needs constant thinking.
(This article was compiled by Gu Mingmin [顾明敏], reviewed by Zhang Zhihua [张志华)])