Three faces of Chinese modernity: nationalism, globalization, and science

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This article addresses three facets of modernity that are signified by slogans and spatial settings in Beijing, China. The research was conducted as a preliminary study of the communication process in the course of globalization and nationalism reflected in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. This article uses some photographs and observations to analyze symbolic meanings of slogans and spaces from Beijing in summer 2007, a year before the Games. Since slogans in China have a long tradition, the repeated usages of slogans and their relations to the spatial settings might signify strong messages to promote governmental orientations. This article explores slogans on Tiananmen Square in relation to the political space, a huge sign displaying the motto of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in Wangfujing district in relation to the economic space, and slogans in an old and poor district under a redevelopment project. The article posits that these three slogans and spaces reflect three different facets of Chinese modernity: nationalism, globalization, and developmental ideology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-697
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Semiotics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • China
  • globalization
  • modernity
  • nationalism
  • science
  • slogan
  • space

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