Radicalism in the Cultural Movements of the Twentieth Century

Contemporary Chinese Thought 29 (4):5-28 (1998)
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Culture is not a constant and unchanging entity. It is the process and entirety of change in time and space. Hence, at any time, culture is in motion and, in this sense, the historical course of China's culture throughout the twentieth century may be said to have been an enormous process of cultural movement. However, the term "cultural movements," as generally discussed, always refers to a specific socio-cultural process that takes place and ends within a given time and space, possesses definite conceptual connotations and orientations and, especially, is made up of the cultural activities of intellectuals and has considerable scale and influence. Judged by this standard, China's cultural history in the twentieth century is filled with various cultural debates and phenomena that go under the name of "movements." The only cultural movements that may be said to have gone beyond regional and local boundaries are the New Culture movement, which occurred around the time of the May Fourth movement, and the Culture Heat that swept mainland China in the 1980s



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Lai Chen
Tsinghua University

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