Visualizing biopower, discipline and the female body in mid-twentieth century China

Linda Pittwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article has two parts: the first discusses whether Foucault’s theories of ‘biopower’ and ‘discipline’ constitute an appropriate method for analysing art – specifically articulating the relationship between art, politics and power – in the context of Chinese Communism. The second section of the article uses these concepts to analyse a public discourse of visual imagery produced in the PRC from approximately the 1940s to the early 1980s that represent the female body. The visual culture artefacts considered in this framework include selected propaganda posters, mostly drawn from the collection of the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Center, and photographs by Li Zhensheng, reproduced in his book Red Colour News Soldier (Li 2003).
Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Pages (from-to)203-220
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Contemporary Chinese Art
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes


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