Internal migration and urban dynamics in Shanghai

Zhao, Yeqin (2011). Construction des espaces urbains et rénovation d’un quartier de Shanghai : la problématique de la migration et du changement social. Shanghai : Sanlian shudian, 2011. (In French)

The book is based on a Ph. D. thesis in sociology, Cachan, École normale supérieure, co-tutoring with Shanghai Huadong shifan daxue, 2008.

Abstract

Since the economic reform in the late 1970’s, China has undergone trmendous changes in poltical, social and cultural aspects. Two of the most important transformations are the urban growth and the flow of internal migration which is unprecedented in the history of China. This flow of internal migration has transformed the urban population.

The objective of this research is to analyze the complexity of relationships between migrnats from rural China and the indigenous inhabitants, who are often former migrants, in the context of ownership of an urban space (a poor community of Shanghai) which is dedicated to the renovation. These issues affect urban dynamics of contemporary China. This research has conducted a thorough analysis of previous empirical research, both Western and Chinese. The close link between migration and the city has directed towards a broader debate, particularly on internal migration and urban dynamics. We adopted the method of micro-sociology and regarded Yuanhenong, a poor neighborhood of Shanghai, as the unit of observation.

The research seeks not only to describe the transformation of Shanghai through a neighbourhood. it intends to show more generally : 1) that one must study the urban transformations from the activities and choies of people who “organize” the city, 2) how the internal migration and the mobility of population are transforming the cities of the emerging countries and how to build the new urban societies, and 3) the need to consider the question of Chinese specificities and its limits.

Monique Abud

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

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