Tag Archives: Urban poverty

Neglect of a neighbourhood: oral accounts of life in ‘old Beijing’ since the eve of the People’s Republic

Neglect of a neighbourhood: oral accounts of life in ‘old Beijing’ since the eve of the People’s Republic. Paper written by Harriet Evans (2014), Urban History, Volume 41, Issue04, November 2014 pp 686-704.


Oral accounts of life over seven decades in Dashalanr, a popular neighbourhood in central Beijing, reveal a social world that despite being shaped by the state’s policies of social and political classification, housing and employment, has been resistant to complete appropriation by them. Based on research in the neighbourhood since 2005, and drawing on Xuanwu District archives, this article examines local residents’ accounts of long decades of hardship and neglect. With an analytical framework that links gender with temporality, place and space, it suggests ways in which their singular experiences can be read as historical narrative.

Please click here to read the article (access restricted): http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?aid=9357383


Miguel Elosua

Spanish qualified lawyer; PhD in Chinese Law. UrbaChina Research Officer. Has lived in China since 2006.

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Two management models in Chinese municipalities

Dorothy J. Solinger (2013), Social assistance under capitalist, authoritarian rule: Two management models In Chinese municipalities, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Jan. 2014,
Published version from Taylor & Francis Online (restricted access) DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2013.871057. (restricted access)

This study uses a micro set of Chinese city-level data to understand the varying choices taken by municipal officials in their distribution of a minimum livelihood scheme. It explores the variation in the apportionment of allowances offered to disparate types of poor groups in poor versus wealthy cities. The paper argues that in China, where profits, modernisation, competition and globalisation have become significant to leaders at all levels, there is a logic undergirding welfare allocation that has nothing to do with the calculus that spurs its delivery in democracies, and yet that is more nuanced than stylised models of dictatorship/authoritarianism presume. The paper also demonstrates that, where lower echelons of governmental administration have the authority to make rules about the rationing of social assistance, urban finances appear to have an impact upon (or at least to correlate with) administrators’ allocational decisions to groups among the poor. This influence of municipal financial health is exerted directly in the case of poor places, by enticing officials to attempt to save on funds; it also seems to operate indirectly in wealthier municipalities, by disposing richer cities’ authorities to design their urban areas as showcases, in the hope of attracting tourism and foreign investment.

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Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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