China’s 1980s and system theory….

Here is something may be interested to you.  The original link is here :

Culture & Media in Post-Socialist China

Information Fantasies: Culture and Media in the Post-Mao “New Era,” by Xiao Liu


“Chapter 4 turns to the discussion of system theory and cybernetics within 1980s Chinese intelligentsia. Both system theory and cybernetics are represented by the scientific notion of the “ultra-stable system” raised in Jin Guantao [金观涛] and Liu Qingfen [刘青峰]’s Prosperity and Crisis: on the Ultra-stable Structure of Feudal Society in China (1983), as well as in the new aesthetics experimented by Fifth Generation filmmakers such as Chen Kaigai in his much acclaimed film Yellow Earth. Liu aims to show how the perennial concern with the stagnancy of Chinese culture since the turn of the twentieth century was represented in new forms of art and aesthetic features. Liu examines the “deep cultural structure of this ancient land” (p. 87) in relation to the new cinematic language such as long shots of immobile images and the slow rhythm in Yellow Earth. In her following discussion of Huang Jianxin’s film Black Cannon Incident, Liu adopts Douglas R. Hofstadter’s aesthetics of “strange loop” — the symbols of the cause-and-effect circularity — to characterize the relationship between a human agent and his environment, between observer and system, and between the intellectuals and the culture around them. This new aesthetic form worked as a political critique of the anxiety toward an impeded modernization.”

The movies and book the dissertation mentioned are:

Jin Guantao [金观涛] and Liu Qingfen [刘青峰]’s Prosperity and Crisis: on the Ultra-stable Structure of Feudal Society in China (1983)


Chen Kaigai  Yellow Earth   陈凯歌 《黄土地》

Huang Jianxin’s film Black Cannon Incident  黄建新 《黑炮事件》

Also, there is another complementary introduction for the scholar JIN Guantao and the way he deals with the system theory….

Modernity And Scientific Rationality: Jin Guantao, System Theory, And The Premodern Myth Of Totality



P.S. I will still stick to the topic of tattoo and ….

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1 thought on “China’s 1980s and system theory….”

  1. Excellent. Thanks for the post.

    What is very interesting for me is that during that same time period when in China there emerged the notion of “ultra-stable system”, at the same time, for occidental intelligentsia, a best-seller by in 1987 by James Gleick, Chaos: The Making of a New Science ( ) highlighted the role of fractal dynamics and sensitivity of systems to small variations in initial conditions. The imaginary landscape was devoted to considerations of instability.

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