Ode to Joy: pop cultural representation of white-collar migrant women in a Chinese megacity




Yang, Linda

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This thesis examines the pop cultural representation of white-collar migrant women (WCMW) through the popular Chinese TV series Ode to Joy. Focusing on various aspects of their lives, this TV series raises many issues about the experiences of WCMW, including perceptions of them as “outsiders” in the megacity, gender inequality, and the tensions between female migrant identity and urban status. This study analyzes those issues by drawing on intersectional theories which examine structural inequalities from the perspective of the interactions of multiple axes of social categories. This thesis asks three major questions: In what way does Ode to Joy represent the experiences of WCMW?; To what extent do issues raised in Ode to Joy impact the wellbeing of WCMW in large cities?, and; What are the “joys” in Ode to Joy for WCMW? In addition to collecting data from the TV series, this study interviewed WCMW informants to provide first-hand accounts of their experiences in an urban culture. By critically analyzing the representation of WCMW characters’ experiences in Ode to Joy, this thesis provides insights on understanding the status of those women in a contemporary Chinese urban setting, thereby filling a gap in academic literature on the pop cultural representation of China’s white-collar migrant women in a Chinese megacity.



Ode to Joy, Pop Culture Representation, Well-educated Migrant Women, Chinese Megacity, Gender Inequality