Being the bottom line of China Central Television Entertainment: Psychoanalysing a CCTV artist through his use of metaphors

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Great efforts have gone into analysing contemporary Chinese television in the post-Deng Xiaoping era, producing a rich body of studies. For example, Lull (1991), Huang (1994), Sun (1996), Shoesmith (1998), Wang (1999), Connolly, Lambert and Moore (2002), and Keane, Fung and Moran (2006) have all examined the recent and current transformation of Chinese media, with a focus on television. There have also been case studies of individual television signal producers and carriers, including several by this author focusing on the state network, China Central Television (CCT), with special regard to the content and forms of its productions (Zhao 1998; Zhong 2001, 2002, 2004). The above publications and many others have greatly enhanced our appreciation of the complexity of the media, particularly television, in the current and rapidly changing society of China. But there is a missing link concerning the so-called 'television artists', especially television hosts, directors and editors. This article intends to provide this missing link. It addresses a number of questions by psychoanalytically studying what a prestigious CCTV host by the name of Li Yong said in an interview in the magazine South China Weekend and by analysing an episode from one of his shows, Dream China. The questions investigated include: How does he see himself in relation to the network? What does he think of the network? How does he characterise his own role and function within it? How does he negotiate his personal aspirations vis-a-vis those of the network? Where does he position himself in relation to his audience?
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Zhong, Yong
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