Global to Village| Reading Movement in the Everyday: The Rise of Guangchangwu in a Chinese Village

Maggie Chao


Over recent years, the practice of guangchangwu has captured the Chinese public’s attention due to its increasing popularity and ubiquity across China’s landscapes. Translated to English as “public square dancing,” guangchangwu describes the practice of group dancing in outdoor spaces among mostly middle-aged and older women. This article examines the practice in the context of guangchangwu practitioners in Heyang Village, Zhejiang Province. Complicating popular understandings of the phenomenon as a manifestation of a nostalgic yearning for Maoist collectivity, it reads guangchangwu through the lens of “jumping scale” to contextualize the practice within the evolving politics of gender in post-Mao China. In doing so, this article points to how guangchangwu can embody novel and potentially transgressive movements into different spaces from home to park, inside to outside, and across different scales from rural to urban, local to national.


square dancing, popular culture, spatial practice, scale, gender politics, China

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