Social Representations of Suntanning and Conditional Beach Practices in China

Sandrine Gaymard, Benjamin Taunay, Jean-Noel Amato


Pale skin in China seems to be a norm and the use of face-kinis on the beaches effectively implies that suntanning frightens. However other practices can be observed which raise questions. The aim of this article is to study the social representation of suntanning and the normative aspects of the representation with the conditionality of practices, among adepts of new beach practices in China. Interviews were carried out among a Chinese population who regularly follow these new beach practices on three Zhujiajian island beaches (Zhejiang Province). A free associations test and a conditionality questionnaire were filled out. The results show on one hand that the social representation of suntanning differs between men and women; on the other hand that conditionality differs little between men and women. Regression analysis shows that several sociodemographic variables such as age, can explain the conditions of acceptability of suntanning. Cross-checking the results shows up some contradictory elements which reflect the existence of an ongoing transformation in the identity of Chinese culture.

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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