Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Rogue Flows

Rogue Flows: Trans-Asian Cultural Traffic

Koichi Iwabuchi
Stephen Muecke
Mandy Thomas
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 284
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Rogue Flows
    Book Description:

    Rogue Flows brings together some of the best and most knowledgeable writers on consumption and cultural theory to chart the under-explored field of cultural flows and consumption across different regions in Asia, and the importance of these flows in constituting contemporary Asian national identities. It offers innovative possibilities for envisioning how the transfer of popular and consumer culture (such as TV, music, film, advertising and commodities) across Asian countries has produced a new form of cross-cultural fertilisation within Asian societies, which does not merely copy Western counterparts. Rogue Flows is unique in its investigation of how "Asianness" is being exploited by Asian transnational cultural industries and how it is involved in the new power relations of the region. It is an important contribution to the literature of Asian cultural studies.

    eISBN: 978-988-220-268-9
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Koichi Iwabuchi, Stephen Muecke and Mandy Thomas
  4. Contributors
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. Introduction: Siting Asian Cultural Flows
    (pp. 1-10)
    Koichi Iwabuchi, Stephen Muecke and Mandy Thomas

    This book analyses the ways in which the accelerating movement of goods, ideas, cultural products and finance in West-dominated globalisation processes have affected the framing of the transnational cultural traffic and encounters among Asian societies. The 1990s was the decade of Asia, in many senses. The decade opened with spectacular economic development of the region, which has made Asian nations more assertive against Western cultural and economic power. The Asian economic miracle was followed by a dramatic downfall due to the recent financial and economic crisis in the region. While what has been highlighted at the end of the millennium...


    • 1 Commerce and Culture in the Pre-colonial Indian Ocean
      (pp. 13-30)
      Devleena Ghosh and Stephen Muecke

      In ‘Different Spaces’, Michel Foucault, in 1964, developed his idea of heterotopia: ‘an ensemble of relations that define emplacements that are irreducible to each other and absolutely non superposable’. A train, apparently, is such a bundle of relations, ‘since it is something through which one passes; it is also something by which one can pass from one point to another, and then it is something that passes by’ (Foucault 1998, 178). But having announced at the beginning of the essay that at the end of the nineteenth century we were leaving behind the great period of History and temporal accumulation...

    • 2 The Moving Zones of China: Flows of Rite and Power in Southeast Asia
      (pp. 31-52)
      Annette Hamilton

      Every year in the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendrical year, the city of Phuket in southern Thailand is gripped by an extraordinary and feverish period that stands in marked contrast to the normally placid and familiar routines of everyday life in Thailand’s far south.¹ On the final day of the eighth month, at the principal Chinese temples (saan chow), vast throngs gather to watch the raising of a tall lantern pole and the invitation ceremonies for the Nine Emperor Gods (Kui Ong), who are asked to come down to earth to purify and enhance the powers of their...

    • 3 It’s All in a Game: Television Formats in the People’s Republic of China
      (pp. 53-72)
      Michael Keane

      Imagine if extraterrestrials were to land on planet Earth to conduct a fact-finding tour. One of the first tasks of the aliens would be to understand how earthlings communicate ideas. They would quickly note the centrality of terrestrial television, and after analysing the signals they might justifiably conclude that the content distributed across the spectrum reflected a degree of homogeneity across cultural and linguistic communities. They might also surmise that earthlings were a species that delighted in primitive contests of chance and elimination.

      Similarity in global television programming, however, is not hypothetical. A native of Korea might make similar observations...

    • 4 Taiwan’s Present/Singapore’s Past Mediated by Hokkien Language
      (pp. 73-92)
      Chua Beng-Huat

      With the rise of capital and the rapid expansion of consumer culture, much of the existing literature on contemporary cultural development in the newly industrialized countries in East and Southeast Asia tends to take up the generalized, often culturally xenophobic, concern with the process of ‘Westernization’.² The expressed fear of the governments and other conservative elements is that the cultural sphere will be penetrated and corrupted by Western consumerism, particularly by media products that will insidiously ‘erode’ local wholesome cultures. Meanwhile, the substantial cultural traffic between these locations remains a neglected area of research.

      Among the traffic flows is a...


    • 5 Self-Orientalism, Reverse Orientalism and Pan-Asian Pop Cultural Flows in Dick Lee’s Transit Lounge
      (pp. 95-118)
      Tony Mitchell

      Edward Said’s 1976 book Orientalism is a study of what Xiaomei Chen has defined as ‘Western imperialist images of its colonial others’ (1995, 3), and despite being confined to the Middle East has been widely adapted as a critical paradigm for Western colonialist conceptualisations of Asia in general and Southeast Asia in particular (see, for example, Mitchell 1993). In applying it to China, Chen counterbalances it with Occidentalism, which she defines as having paradoxical similarities to Orientalism, both in its ability to ‘serve as discourses of liberation’ and as discursive practices ‘that, by constructing its Western other, has allowed the...

    • 6 Imagining ‘New Asia’ in the Theatre: Cosmopolitan East Asia and the Global West
      (pp. 119-150)
      C. J. W.-L. Wee

      The Asian economic crisis that took place in Southeast Asia in the closing years of the twentieth century inevitably makes us think of the future as we come to terms with the immediate past. The corporate discourses on ‘globalisation’ — an entirely inescapable buzzword in Singapore — since 1989 have evoked a humanity under a New World Order, unified by the hegemonic presence of economic neo-liberalism. That unity, as the 1997 Asian crisis reiterates, has not transpired: globalisation uneasily excludes and differentiates, even as it creates certain forms of cultural homogenisation.

      What has become very noticeable, as anthropologist Fernando Coronil observes, is...

    • 7 Time and the Neighbor: Japanese Media Consumption of Asia in the 1990s
      (pp. 151-174)
      Koichi Iwabuchi

      Over the 1990s, Japan’s gradual tilt toward Asia was clearly visible. Following a long retreat after the 1945 defeat, Japan began actively reasserting its identity as an Asian country, in response to the rising economic power of other Asian states as well as to the changing post-Cold War geopolitical landscape. It had never truly ceded its regional influence, but in fact, the new “Asia” Japan is rejoining has had, in cultural geographic terms, to be reinstated in the Japanese national imagination in the last decade. Japan’s so-called “return to Asia,” therefore, should be understood as a strategic project. “Returning” has...


    • 8 East Asian Cultural Traces in Post-socialist Vietnam
      (pp. 177-196)
      Mandy Thomas

      The recent efflorescence of interest in Korean films and pop stars in Vietnam has been experienced all through Asia (Cho 2001), but in Vietnam this interest is localised in particular ways that reveal the modalities through which Vietnam positions itself in the region. Not having a highly developed entertainment industry in Vietnam has meant that Vietnamese audiences are presently hungry to consume the films, soap operas and songs that are produced elsewhere in Asia. In this paper, I discuss the part played by these cultural products from the wealthy industrialised countries of Asia in articulating the discursive category of ‘Asia’...

    • 9 The Re-importation of Cha Yi Guan Teahouses into Contemporary China from Taiwan: Cultural Flows and the Development of a Public Sphere
      (pp. 197-220)
      Jing Zheng

      In this paper, I explore the way in which the importation into China from Taiwan of the cha yi guan teahouse has had an impact upon social and political change in Beijing. Not only do these teahouses signal a trend to return to a nostalgic ‘Chineseness’ as globalization gains speed and intensity, but they also have become the sites in which the new élites of urban China display their social status through ‘taste’. It is also clear that such new spaces do provide a means for forms of communication that were not available in the past decades. These spaces have...

    • 10 Fashion Shows, Fashion Flows: The Asia Pacific Meets in Hong Kong
      (pp. 221-246)
      Lise Skov

      Fashion is such a liquid phenomenon that it makes many of the other forms of popular culture appear comparatively stable. It continues to be Western dominated — at least in the fashion centres in Europe where big-name designers present their collections to fashion editors and photographers who fly in from all parts of the world. At the same time, fashion is highly globalised; many Asians today have grown up wearing Western-style clothes, and although they may admire the beauty of traditional dress and fully endorse its national significance, they may not feel entirely comfortable wearing it.

      To acknowledge that Western-style dress...


    • 11 Participating from a Distance
      (pp. 249-262)
      Meaghan Morris

      By way of a postscript to this volume, I thought it might be useful to offer some remarks on its concerns from the perspective of an Australian observer of Asian cultural flows and trans-Asian cultural traffic. As an academic living and working in Asia, I am no doubt a participant observer of these developments most of the time, but my own research is Australia-based — and declaring a certain detachment gives me not only a reflective distance but a position to reflect upon.

      From this Australian observer’s position, then, how does the question of the “trans-Asian” arise? In practice, the meaning...

  10. Index
    (pp. 263-270)