Dr David Bray
BA(Hons) PhD Melbourne
+61 2 9114 0970
Current Position:Senior Lecturer; Post Graduate Research Coordinator
David Bray’s research is focused on exploring the inter-relationships between the built environment, governance and social change in contemporary China. Utilising post-structuralist theorisations on power, ‘governmentality’ and spatiality he aims to understand both how the built environment is imagined and planned at a governmental and technocratic level, as well as how its reconstruction impacts on communities and subjectivities at the local level. In particular David is interested in the multifarious ways in which the built environment becomes both a strategic resource for governmental interventions and a site of local resistance to those interventions and to the discourses they embody. China’s rapid urban transformation in recent years is of global significance in its own right, but in a comparative context, it also raises many intriguing challenges to established understandings of modernisation, urbanisation and social change: in this broader context, David’s research seeks to address larger theoretical debates associated with fields such as urban sociology, human geography, social policy, city planning and globalisation.
David Bray is fluent in Chinese (Mandarin) and undertakes regular research trips to China where he is currently engaged in research collaborations with scholars at leading universities including Peking, Tsinghua and Nanjing.
SCLG3605 Urban Transformations: space and society
SCLG3601 - Contemporary Sociological Theory
- ‘Master Plans and Model Communities: redesigning urban life in contemporary China' (sole-authored book project)
- ‘Building a New Countryside’: urban planning goes rural in China’ (ongoing fieldwork based project)
- New Mentalities of Government in China (conference Dec. 2012, edited book project)
- ‘The Formation and the Evolution of the Danwei System in Contemporary China’; International Collaborator with team led by Prof. Chai Yanwei, Peking University.
- 2012-2016, National Foundation for Social Science (China), Large Research Project; ¥800,000 with team led by Prof. Chai Yanwei, Peking University, for project entitled: ‘The Formation and the Evolution of the Danwei System in Contemporary China’.
- 2010, University of Sydney, Bridging Support Grant, $40 000 for a project entitled ‘Master Plans and Model Communities: redesigning China for the 21st Century’
- 2009, University of Sydney, faculty of Arts Research Support Scheme: $9 000 for a project entitled ‘“Building a New Countryside”: urban planning goes rural in China’
- 2008, University of Sydney, Bridging Support Grant: $40 000 for a project entitled ‘Architecture, urban design and social change in China’.
- 2007, University of Sydney, Research and Development Fund: $15 000 for a project entitled ‘Community space and governance in contemporary urban China’.
- 2006, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHASS) ‘near miss’ grant: $10 000 for a project entitled ‘Community space and governance in contemporary urban China’.
Visiting Professor, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tsinghua University, China: Sep-Oct 2008
Visiting Scholar, Centre for Chinese Studies, University of California at Berkeley, USA: Nov-Jan 2008/09
- Social Space and Governance in Urban China: The danwei system from origins to reform, Stanford CA: Stanford University Press, 2005.
- ‘Designing to govern: space and power in two Wuhan communities’, Built Environment, Vol. 34, no. 4, 2008: 392-407.
- ‘Zhilixing sheji: Wuhan liang ge shequ de kongjian yu quanli’, (in Chinese; trans. He Hongguang), Zhongguo yanjiu, No. 5/6, Nov. 2007.
- ‘Building ‘Community’: New Strategies of Governance in Urban China’, Economy and Society, Vol. 35 No. 4 (Nov.) 2006: 530-549.
- ‘The Danwei: socialist factory-town in miniature?’ in Stefan Al (ed.), Factory Towns of South China: An Illustrated Guidebook 華南工業城鎮導覽. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. (Forthcoming)
- ‘Governing Urban China: Labour, Welfare, and the Danwei’, in Tak-Wing Ngo (ed.), Contemporary China Studies 1 – Politics. London: Sage: Vol. 2. (Forthcoming)
- ‘Building “Community”: New Strategies of Governance in Urban China’, in Tak-Wing Ngo (ed.), Contemporary China Studies 2 – Economy and Society. London: Sage: Vol. 3.
- ‘Cong danwei dao xiaoqu: zhilide kongjianhua’ (‘From Danwei to Xiaoqu: the Spatialization of Government’) in Jianfei Zhu (ed.) Zhongguo jianzhu liushinian 1949-2009: lunwenji (Sixty Years of Chinese Architecture 1949-2009: research essays). Beijing: Zhongguo jianzhu gongye chubanshe (China Architecture and Building Press), 140-155.
- ‘Governing Urban China: Labour Welfare and the Danwei’, in Andrew Kipnis, Luigi Tomba and Jonathan Unger (eds.),
Contemporary Chinese Society and Politics, London and New York: Routledge: 2009, Vol. 1: 105-136.
- ‘Building ‘Community’: New Strategies of Governance in Urban China’, in Jeffreys (ed.) China’s Governmentalities, London: Routledge, 2009.
- ‘Urban design and community governance in China: a study of space and power’, in Paola Pellegrini and Paola Vigano (eds.), Comment Vivre Ensemble: Prototypes of Idiorythmical Conglomerations and Shared Spaces, Roma: Officina Edizioni, 2006: 81-99.
- ‘Garden estates and social harmony: a study into the relationship between residential planning and urban governance in contemporary China’, Urban Development and Planning in China: China Planning Network (CPN) 3rd Annual Conference Beijing, China June 14-16, 2006.
- Morris L. Bian, The making of the State Enterprise System in Modern China: The Dynamics of Institutional Change, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, in The China Journal, No 58, July 2007, pp.203-206.
- Bruce Gilley, China’s Democratic Future: How it Will Happen and Where it Will Lead: Columbia University Press, in Democratization, Vol. 12, No. 2, April 2005, pp. 275-277.
- Yongnian Zheng, Globalization and State Transformation in China, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, in Political Studies Review, Vol. 3, No. 1, January 2005, p.115.
- Randall Peerenboom, China’s Long March Toward Rule of Law, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, in Political Studies Review, Vol. 2, No. 2, April 2004, p.253.
Recent Conference Papers
- ‘Government, territory and housing: rethinking China’s “gated communities”’, 12th Chinese Studies Association of Australia Conference, ANU, Canberra, 11-13 July, 2011.
- ‘Designing stability: urban planning and the quest for “harmonious society”’, invited paper, Symposium: Preserving Stability in China, UTS, Sydney, 4-5 July, 2011.
- ‘Master-planning the nation; re-building China for the 21st Century’, invited paper, Reaching for hearts and minds - governmentality and the power of the state in China, Centre for East and South East Asian studies, Lund University, Sweden, 1-2 December, 2010.
- ‘Master-planning the nation; elites and the transformation of China’s built environment’, invited paper, International Conference on Elite Formation and Governance Behaviour in China, National University of Politics, Taipei, Taiwan, 6-8 November, 2010.
- ‘Master Plans and Model Communities: redesigning urban life in contemporary China’, 11th Chinese Studies Association of Australia Conference, Sydney, 9-11 July, 2009.
- ‘Master plans and model communities: rationalities of urban planning in contemporary China’, Invited Panel: Reinventing governance in China: rationalities, strategies and practices, American Anthropological Association 107th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, USA, 19–23 November 2008.
- ‘Space and place in contemporary urban China: understanding the social impact of spatial transformation’, International Conference on Chinese Society and China Studies, (invited as ‘Distinguished Foreign Scholar’) Nanjing University, Nanjing, China, October 24-26 2008.
- ‘Urban space and urban livelihoods: some methodological issues’, International Symposium Livelihoods, Mobility and Development: The Chinese Experiences, National Institute of Chinese Studies, The University of Leeds, UK, 30th November – 1st December 2007.
- ‘Designing to govern: space and power in two Wuhan communities’, International Conference on China's Urban Transition and City Planning, Cardiff, UK, 29th-30th June 2007.
- ‘Garden estates and social harmony: a study into the relationship between residential planning and urban governance in contemporary China’, Urban Development and Planning in China: China Planning Network (CPN) 3rd Annual Conference, Beijing, China, June 14-16, 2006.
- ‘Building Community: new strategies of governance in urban China’, 9th Chinese Studies Association of Australia Conference, Bendigo, Victoria, 30 June – 3 July.
- ‘Governing social space in urban China: courtyards, workunits, and gated communities’, 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Asian Studies, Chicago, USA, March 31-April 3.
- ‘Master-planning the nation; re-building China for the 21st Century’, invited paper, Passion of Politics Workshop, The ANU China Institute, The Australian National University, Canberra, December 7-9, 2009.
- ‘From danwei to xiaoqu: the governmentalization of space’, invited guest lecture, Department of Sociology, University of Nanjing, 30 November, 2009.
- ‘Re-thinking China’s “urban revolution”’, invited seminar presentation, Department of Chinese Studies, University of Sydney, 28 May, 2009.
- ‘The Development of Urban Residential Space: Comparing Australia and China’; guest lecture at the College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, China, 21 October, 2008.
- ‘Space; Planning; Governance; Community: in search of an urban studies methodology’, guest lecture to graduate students, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, 20 October, 2008.
- ‘Space and place in contemporary urban China: understanding the social impact of spatial transformation’; guest lecture at the Sino-French Center for Social Sciences, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, 16 October, 2008.
- ‘Urban space and urban governance: some methodological problems’, guest lecture presented to students and staff at the Urban Community Research Centre, China Central Normal University Wuhan, China, January 2006.
- 'Governing the communal self: community and local governance in urban China', invited talk at the ARC’s Asia-Pacific Futures Network, China Node, First Annual Meeting, Institute for International Studies, UTS, Sydney, December 2005.
- ‘Building the Party into the new Chinese city: CCP grassroots work in the age of high-rise and high commerce’, invited lecture at the Scottish Centre for Chinese Studies, The University of Edinburgh, UK, November 2004.
- ‘Community (shequ) politics in urban China: local empowerment or state control’, invited paper presented to the Royal Institute of International Affairs, China Discussion Group, Chatham House, London, UK, March 2004.
- ‘Neighbourhood Watch and the production of citizenship in urban China’, invited seminar presentation at the Institute of Chinese Studies, Oxford University, UK, October 2002.
- ‘From work unit to community unit: new forms of political organisation in urban China’, invited seminar presentation at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, UK, February 2002.