The Impotence Epidemic: Men’s Medicine and Sexual Desire in Contemporary China
Everett Yuehong Zhang is Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies and Anthropology at Princeton University. He is the co-editor of Governance of Life in Chinese Moral Experience: The Quest for an Adequate Life, and co-author of Deep China: The Moral Life of the Person.
One Thousand Bodies of Impotence
This chapter presents a wide range of social contexts and related personal experiences in which impotence occurs—the changing political class system, increasing inequality, the rural–urban divide, xiagang (layoffs from state-owned enterprises), the loss of filial piety, memories of socialist-era starvation, and so on. The wide range of detailed bodily experiences demonstrated in this chapter constitutes “one thousand bodies of impotence.” Through bodily experience, some historical processes emerge in a new light. For example, one man’s story of having difficulty finding a girlfriend under the Maoist political class system reveals that system as a biopolitical invention.