My current project is to turn my recently defended doctoral dissertation "China Rejuvenated?: Governmentality, Subjectivity, and Normativity. The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games," into a monograph. This study positions the Beijing Olympics in the context of the Chinese state’s continuous and ceaseless efforts in managing its population and in claiming its superlative achievement, just like the Great Leap Forward in the late 1950s or, more recently, the manned space program, the celebration of thethirtieth anniversary of the reform and opening policy, the celebration of thesixtiethanniversary of the PRC, and the 2010 Shanghai Expo, which it claimed to have the highest number of visitors in Expo history. The monograph is unique in its empirical richness and in its interdisciplinary approach as it builds on extensive fieldwork related to the Beijing Olympics between 2007 and 2010 (including 99 interviews with taxi drivers, 24 interviews with Olympic volunteers, 450 hours TV recordings, ample media materials including photos of posters, banners, maps, guidebooks, advertisements, Olympic promotion materials found on internet and photos taken by the author). Yet, the central issues it seeks to address, explore, tackle and problematize are not limited to this mega-event.
In this project, I develop the Foucaultian concept of productive power through examining the ways in which the Chinese government tried to mobilize the population to embrace its Olympic project through deploying various sets of strategies and tactics. I argue that the multifaceted strategies, tactics, and discourses deployed by the Chinese authorities sustain an order of things and values in such a way that drive individuals to commit themselves actively to the goals of the party-state. The book examines how these processes of subjectification are achieved. In other words, it studies the processes under which individuals become self-directed subjects of their own and whereby they internalize state-defined norms/ideals in their belief to embrace the nation’s dream. The ultimate target of these mobilization strategies and tactics is the whole Chinese population; yet, specific strategies had also been deployed on particular groups. The book unfolds this by zooming in onto five specific groups of the population in Beijing: athletes, volunteers, taxi drivers, the Beijing citizens and the larger Chinese population that place-making projects targeted at, and lastly, the Hong Kong population.
Chong, Gladys P.L. (forthcoming). The Olympics and Beyond: A Critical Perspective on the Making of Chinese Subjects. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
Chong, Gladys P. L. (2013, forthcoming). "Claiming the Past, Presenting the Present, Selling the Future: Imagining a New Beijing, Great Olympics." In Spectacle and the City — Urbanity in Popular Culture and Art in East Asia, edited by Jeroen de Kloet and Lena Maria Scheen. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
Chong, Gladys P. L., Jeroen de Kloet, and Guohua Zeng. (forthcoming). "Power to the People? Security, the State, and the 2008 Beijing Olympics." In Securing the OIympics, edited by Vida Bajc. London: Palgrave/Macmillan.
de Kloet, Jeroen, Gladys Pak Lei Chong and Stefan Landsberger 2011. "National Image Management at Home: Imagining the New Olympic Citizen." In Soft Power in China: Public Diplomacy Through Communication, edited by Jian Wang. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
de Kloet, Jeroen and Gladys Pak Lei Chong. 2011. "De meeste dromen zijn bedrog? De Olympische Spelen en de mondiale beeldvorming." In Paradoxaal China (pp. 77 – 93, edited by Peter Ho. Almere: Parthenon.
Chong, Gladys P. L. 2013, forthcoming. "Chinese Bodies That Matter: The Search For Masculinity and Femininity." International Journal of the History of Sport.
Chong, Gladys P. L. 2011. "Volunteers as the ‘New’ Model Citizens: Governing Citizens through Soft Power." China Information 25 (1): 33 - 59.
de Kloet, Jeroen, Gladys P. L. Chong, and Wei Liu. 2008. "The Beijing Olympics and the Art of Nation-State Maintenance." Journal of Current Chinese Affairs 2: 5–35.
Chong, Gladys P. L. 2008. "China op het Olympische erepodium." Agora, jaargang 24 nr. 2.: p. 17 -21.
Chong, Gladys P.L. and Jeroen de Kloet. 2008. "Olympische Spelen." China Nu jaargang 33, voorjaar: p. 12-23.