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Title: Re-examining the polysystem theory through censorship in the translation of sexual taboos: a comparative study of mainland China and Taiwan
Authors: Liu, Li
Keywords: Humanities::Language
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Source: Liu, L. (2022). Re-examining the polysystem theory through censorship in the translation of sexual taboos: a comparative study of mainland China and Taiwan. Master's thesis, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Abstract: Sex, a basic human instinct, and for thousands of years an important element of human life, remains a taboo in many cultures even in the 21st century. In mainland China, sexual taboos in translated literature continue to be a frequent target of censorship, despite the fact that rapid modernisation has brought significant cultural changes to the country. This, however, contradicts with the widely-believed argument that sex censorship is primarily motivated by a desire to conform to the cultural norms of a specific context. In order to explore the other, wider socio-political factors involved, this study compares how the translation of sexual taboos evolved in mainland China and Taiwan – two separate polities that share cultural similarities but adopt very different political systems. Through a comparative analysis of the Mainland and the Taiwan translations of four case studies featuring controversial sexual themes, this study reveals that the translation of sex is primarily determined by the form of government. More specifically, tolerance of sexual taboos tends to be higher under a decentralised system, and lower under a centralised system. This argument also works in favour of the polysystem theory as we examine the findings using a revised version of the theory proposed by Chang Nam Fung, who argues that the political and ideological polysystems play a central role in determining the position of a particular narrative or poetics within a megapolysystem.
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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