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This paper examines how Chinese advertisers include concepts of both nationalism and transnationalism in recent Chinese advertisements. I situate my research in the context of China’s search for modernity, and its historical and contemporary relations with the West. I argue that the marketing of nationalism and transnationalism represents contradictory concepts of China as a nation and a state. It also symbolizes China’s deep anxiety and ambivalence toward its own tradition and global capitalism. On one hand, Chinese advertisers sell nationalism by celebrating Chinese history, contemporary events, and Chinese lineage. On the other hand, Chinese advertisers use Western symbols and values to elevate the status of advertised products. Chinese advertisers also sell a hybrid form of nationalism and transnationalism in an attempt to reconcile ‘Chineseness’ with global capitalism. To some extent, nationalism and transnationalism emerge as competing sites for ideas about China as a nation and a state in a globalized world characterized by unequal power relations between China and the West.


Article published in the International Journal of Communication 2 (2008), 1125-1163.

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