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  • MASARYK UNIVERSITYFACULTY OF SOCIAL STUDIES

    Department of Sociology

    Globalization and Chinese Spring Festival

    Master's Thesis

    Shuangping Xu

    Supervisor: Bernadette Nadya Jaworsky, Ph.D.

    UO: 380537

    Study Field: Sociology

    Year of Enrollment: 2010 Brno, 2012

  • 1I hereby declare that this thesis I submit for assessment is entirely my own work andhas not been taken from the work of others save to the extent that such work has beencited and acknowledged within the text of my work.

    Date: Signature

  • 2Acknowledgement

    I most want to acknowledge the one hundred seventy-eight informants who

    contributed to my research. I also owe great gratitude to my supervisor Professor

    Bernadette Nadya Jaworsky. Her knowledge, insight, attitude towards academics and

    teaching helped me gain new perspectives both on my academics and my life. The

    idea of this thesis is invoked from one of her lectures: transnational studies. From that

    time, I found myself very interested in cultural sociology and wanted to use what I

    had learned from the class to do some research on the development of Chinese culture.

    Dr. Jaworsky helped me to develop my topic in November 2011, and then gave me

    suggestions, recommended me resources, revised my outline, and guided me through

    the whole process of writing m thesis. I am grateful for her patience.

    Many people have given me help more or less in my thesis writing. Michail

    Tsikerdekis and Wei Lai helped me to improve my analysis skill with SPSS. Ran

    Xueyu recommended me some good resources. Xiao Xiao, Li Hanwei, Cheng Jing,

    Tian Jing, Li Guangtian, Zhang Kun, Cao Qifeng and Wang Taihui contributed theirown ideas and opinions in constructing my topic. My friends in Czech Republic and I

    shared happiness and bitterness of the thesis writing journey, and their support andcare helped drive away boredom and fatigue in this long journey.

    I must also thank my parents, they always asked about how my thesis was going on

    and pushed me forward. Their insight, courage, optimism and struggling spirit is a

    motivation for me.

  • 3Abstract

    Recent years have brought a decline in the traditional flavor of long-standing Chinese

    festivals, including the most influential Spring Festival. Conversely, the Western

    celebration of Christmas seems to be more welcomed than the Spring Festival.

    Despite the fact that there is much discussion about these two festivals in China, few

    scholars have carried out empirical research to analyse how Spring Festival has

    actually changed in the context of globalization and the spread of Christmas. Through

    conducting a survey as well as qualitative interviews with young people in Guiyang,

    China, I explore how the meaning and the celebration of Spring Festival has changed

    and whether such changes are related to the rise of Christmas in contemporary China.

    The findings from my research reveal that Spring Festival is still very important for

    many Chinese young people. The rise of Christmas does not threaten Spring Festival.

    First, Spring Festival still retains its vitality but is understood and celebrated in some

    new ways. Second, the Western Christmas holiday has been glocalized since its

    arrival in China. Therefore, the claims of some scholars that the popularity of

    Christmas has made Spring Festival drop into decline are simply overstated.

    Key Words:

    Christmas, globalization, glocalization, Guiyang, modernization, Spring Festival,

    Westernization, young Chinese

  • 4ContentTotal Characters: 144624

    Introduction....................................................................................................................1Chapter 1 Theoretical Context .......................................................................................6

    1.1"Tradition in the Context of Globalization, Modernization andWesternization...................................................................................................6

    1.2 The Processes of Globalization, Modernization and Westernization in China..91.3 Christmas and Glocalization ........................................................................... 11

    Chapter 2 Spring Festival and Christmas in China......................................................132.1 Spring Festival in China..................................................................................132.2 Christmas in China..........................................................................................152.3 The Relationship between the Two Festivals..................................................182.4 The So-called Decline of Spring Festival .......................................................20

    2.4.1 Dysfunction of Spring Festival .............................................................212.4.2 Festival Transformation and Social Construction.................................222.4.3 Mismatch between Festival Characters and Psychological

    Satisfaction...........................................................................................23Chapter 3 Methodology and Methods..........................................................................26

    3.1 Research Design..............................................................................................263.2 Research Methodology ...................................................................................273.3 Research Methods...........................................................................................29

    3.3.1 Survey ...................................................................................................293.3.2 Interviews..............................................................................................313.3.3 Sampling Techniques ............................................................................31

    3.4 Data Analysis ..................................................................................................33Chapter 4 Spring Festival Preferences among Chinese Young People........................35

    4.1 The Role of Gender and Age ..........................................................................354.2 Basic Knowledge ............................................................................................404.3 Celebration Ways and Intentions ....................................................................42

    Chapter 5 Christmas among Young People in China...................................................515.1 Basic Knowledge ............................................................................................515.2 Celebration Age ..............................................................................................565.3 Celebration Ways and Intentions ....................................................................59

    Chapter 6 Conclusion...................................................................................................686.1 Summary.........................................................................................................686.2 Implications.....................................................................................................716.3 Limitations of the Study..................................................................................736.4 Suggestions for Future Research ....................................................................73

    References....................................................................................................................75Name Index.................................................................. Error! Bookmark not defined.Appendix......................................................................................................................78

    Appendix I ............................................................................................................79

  • 5Appendix II ...........................................................................................................84

  • 1Introduction

    While many people around the world are dazed by alien things and cheer the "global

    village" built by globalization and modernization, some scholars have begun to

    criticize this phenomenon. They think the rise of Western culture through

    globalization and modernization has threatened traditional Chinese cultures.

    With the development of globalization and Westernization, many Chinese people have

    welcomed Western culture with open arms and great passion. Not only is learning

    English a very important task for Chinese students, but many Western traditions and

    festivals have also become significant aspects of social life, especially for young

    people, who seem to worship and have blind faith in all things foreign. They might

    consider Western culture more advanced and consider those who follow it "cooler"

    and more "modern" than those who do not. To some degree, their attitude toward all

    foreign culture has had an influence on the preservation of traditional Chinese culture

    and festivals, for example, Chinas most important festival Spring Festival.

    Some people think the flavor of Spring Festival has declined in recent years;

    conversely, Christmas seems to be more welcomed in China. They envision this shift

    as a Chinese cultural crisis. Many articles in newspapers, magazines and on the

    Internet have analyzed the reasons for this phenomenon and pointed out the

    importance of preserving the unique culture of the traditional Spring Festival.

    Mingmei Wang (2004reports that the function of Spring Festival has been