Inner Mongolia: The Origin and Destiny of Its Autonomy
4: Inner Mongolian Women with Fake Eyelashes and Men with Sport Cars: Stancetaking and Stylization in Multilingual Songs
Saturday, March 26, 2022
10:30am – 12:00pm EST
Location: Conv. Center, Room 314
Uppsala University, Sweden
Contemporary Inner Mongolia is witnessing the epistemic breakdowns of dominant moral and gendered orders, which are reflected in expressive cultures of its Mongol residents. This article examines two bilingual Mongol performers’ processes of constructing social personas, which feature taking up deontic stances on social and moral shifts in contemporary Inner Mongolia and stylizing multilingual resources in folk songs and raps. Their songs parody two different personas, namely young modern Mongol wives in rural societies who flout traditional social norms and challenge the patriarchal social order, and young urban Mongol men dreaming to be rich and to indulge themselves in luxury. This article finds that performers’ deontic stancetaking in pop cultural commentary intertextually evokes shared social knowledge within the community of practices and reproduces gender norms and moral orders in the patriarchal Mongol society. It also finds that such ideological reproduction and struggle to maintain traditional social orders through shaping and parodying deviant personas are inseparable from and mediated by linguistic stylization, which draws on the social meanings of languages available in the multilingual ethnonational minority society. The persona-constructing processes relies on and reinforces the linguistic indexicality which characterizes Mongolian language and cultural symbols as traditional and moral, and Chinese language and cultural symbols as modern and immoral. Such linguistic indexicality mediates the construction and castigation of social outliers who flout and reshape temporal, spatial and ethnic boundaries.