Publication details [#59512]

Storm, Carsten. 2015. Violence and youth in the work of Edward Yang. Archiv Orientální 83 (1) : 137–167.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins


This paper analyses images and functions of youth violence in the movies of Edward Yang. The terms youth and violence have made a “career” of their own in the academic fields of Cultural Studies, sociology, and psychology. The paper will probe into the validity and usefulness of these theoretical assumptions in a Taiwanese and/or East Asian environment by addressing three interconnected aspects: (i) the image of youth characters and the alignment with age-specific forms of behavior and life-style that separate them from adults; (ii) the function and ethics of violence in the movies and in youth discourses; and (iii) the “grammatical” functions of violence in the aesthetic structure of the cinematic narration. The author argues that Yang contradicts typical Cultural Studies assumptions on youth, the relationship with adulthood and the function of violence in the process of transition. Yang blurs the boundaries between youth and adulthood and negates a fundamental change and development, at least with regard to the use of violence. Violence as a form of youth resistance is transformed into a notion of banality and anonymity and thus becomes a means of production and a standard form of human agency. Additionally, violence serves as the prime device in Yang’s narrative structure.