The individual on the move
Redefining ‘individualism’ in China
The concept of ‘individualism’ is central to modern understandings of human behavior and society, yet it is also an example of a “new” concept introduced to Chinese society in the early 1900s. Due to the complex interplay between linguistic, socio-cultural, and ideological factors involved, the meaning of ‘individualism’ has undergone continual change from the early 1900s to today. As translation not only plays a vital role in knowledge dissemination, but is also a site where dynamic knowledge negotiation is carried out, this study uses a corpus-based methodology to examine the ways in which ‘individualism’ has been redefined, re-established and reconstructed in China through translation during the period between 1910 and 2010. The study ultimately argues that concepts and ideas are constantly renegotiated and redefined as they travel from one culture to another, and as they travel through time.