Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality, and to see the links to virtual rooms.

Accepted Paper:

Transforming the Suburbs: Infrastructure, State, and Inequality in Contemporary Urban China  
Jialing Luo (Sichuan University)

Paper short abstract:

Focusing on the dramatic transformations of the suburbs of a Chinese city, this paper explores the ways in which infrastructures are planned and constructed in relation to the shifting narratives of the state over time. It examines inequalities generated by infrastructure development.

Paper long abstract:

Dongjiao refers to the Eastern suburbs of Chengdu, the metropolis of Western China. It became the settlement of a large number of Hakkas, who migrated here from afar in the 17th century. Comprising mainly agricultural and uncultivated land, Dongjiao did not start to industrialise until the 1950s, when the socialist state designated this area as an industrial base. Infrastructures including factories, roads and railways were rapidly built. Engineers, cadres and college graduates were assigned to work here. There was an obvious division between the local peasants, many of them the Hakkas, and those who worked at the factory, in terms of income, social welfare, status and life style. However, as the state became increasingly capitalistic economically, the late 1990s witnessed the large-scale restructuring of state enterprises and the decline of the manufacturing sector. Consequently, many workers were laid off and re-employment difficult. In the early 21st century, the massive state-led redevelopment took place in Dongjiao. The new infrastructure, featuring high-rise residential towers, shopping malls, and underground subways, emerged to re-define Dongjiao as part of the expanding city centre. While many former factory workers were rendered economically disadvantaged, most former peasants became better off after gaining compensation from the state for their loss of land.

Drawing on the concept of the "promise of infrastructure", and seeing infrastructure development as "fundamentally a political process", this paper goes beyond the grand narratives of the state and examines the little narratives of the everyday experience of the residents in Dongjiao at different times.

Panel P116a
"Promising Growth": Anthropological Reflections on Sprawling Infrastructure and Inequality
  Session 1 Thursday 28 July, 2022, -