Politicization, Commodification and Semioscape of a Red-Tourism Village in Post-Socialist China: A Chronotopic-Scalar System

Authors: Zhixin Liu (Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China)
Speakers: Zhixin Liu
Strand: Linguistic Landscapes
Session Type: General Session


This paper seeks to contribute to the understanding of place as it relates to politicization by examining the semiotic landscape of a village in rural China. Located appropriately 135 kilometers away from Hangzhou, the capital city of Zhejiang Province, China, the village of Fujialu is bounded on the south shore of Hangzhou Bay, opposite Shanghai. As conferred by the Central Government of China on December 31, 2019 for distinction in governance, the village was gradually transformed into a so-called “Model Village” partly through the mobilization of semiotic resources in its semiotic landscape. Nowadays it is increasingly appealing to tourists with the burgeoning of “red tourism”, a subset of tourism in which people visit sites with historical significance for communism in China (see www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202105/06/WS60934f64a31024ad0babc29d.html for “red tourism”). Engaging the theoretical concept of “cultural chronotopes” (Agha, 2007) and the complexity perspective of scale (Soler-Carbonell, 2016), this study will explore discursive signs of any kind employed in the semioscaping of Fujialu to discuss the ways in which specific configurations of time and space are used for semiotic affordance and interpretation. A digital camera will be used to capture the public signs for data collection within a physically demarcated piece of terrain with over 66,000 square meters centering principally around the Administrative Building of the village. With attention to representations of fine traditions of the nation, socialist doctrines, and local distinctiveness, various types of chronotopes constructed can be figured out to analyze the appropriation of particularized chronotopes in the semiotic landscape of the village. As a conclusion, the paper goes one further step to discuss how chronotopes in this case could be simultaneously commodified, suggesting a new direction towards the intersection of the politicized place to the commodification of place. References: Agha, A. (2007). Recombinant selves in mass mediated spacetime. Language & Communication, 27(3), 320-335. doi: 10.1016/j.langcom.2007.01.001 Soler-Carbonell, J. (2016). Complexity perspectives on linguistic landscapes: a scalar analysis. Linguistic Landscape, 2(1), 1-25. doi: 10.1075/ll.2.1.01sol

Keywords: Semioscape, Chronotope, Scale, Politicization, Commodification