Contesting speculative urbanisation and strategising discontents

Shin, Hyun Bang (2014). Contesting speculative urbanisation and strategising discontents. City: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action, 18:4-5, p. 509-516. DOI:10.1080/13604813.2014.939471. Retrieved from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13604813.2014.939471 [26 September 2014].

This paper explains what the production of speculative urbanisation in mainland China means for strategising emergent discontents therein. It is argued that China’s urbanisation is a political and ideological project by the Party State, producing urban-oriented accumulation through the commingling of the labour-intensive industrial production with heavy investment in the built environment. Therefore, for any progressive movements to be formed, it becomes imperative to imagine and establish cross-class alliances to claim the right to the city (or the right to the urban, given the limitations of the city as an analytical unit). Because of the nature of urbanisation, the alliances would need to involve not only industrial workers and urban inhabitants but also village farmers whose lands are expropriated to accommodate investments to produce the urban as well as ethnic minorities in autonomous regions whose cities are appropriated and restructured to produce Han-dominated cities. Education emerges as an important strategy for the discontented who need to understand how the fate of urban inhabitants is knitted tightly with the fate of workers, villagers and others who are subject to the exploitation of the urban-oriented accumulation.

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Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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