student profile: Miss Sirma Altun


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Thesis work

Thesis title: Fragmented Hegemony: Spaces of Legitimacy and Poverty in Urban China

Supervisors: Adam David MORTON , Beatriz CARRILLO GARCIA

Thesis abstract:

Although a number of studies have documented the fragmented nature of urban poverty and urban poverty alleviation programs in China, the issue has yet to be comprehensively investigated from a socio-spatial theoretical perspective. Socio-spatial theory provides a solid perspective to explore urban poverty and urban poverty alleviation programs in relation to space-time, capital accumulation and the state. Looking at urban poverty in China through a socio-spatial perspective, this thesis therefore aims to develop a discussion on the relations between poverty alleviation policies, the legitimacy of the Communist Party of China and the socio-spatiality of the Chinese state. To this end, the thesis critically engages with the literature developed by China scholars on urban poverty in China and poverty alleviation programs as well as urban China in general. Simultaneously, the thesis approaches themes of urban poverty and poverty alleviation from socio-spatial theory questioning what they offer for the understanding of Chinese socio-spatiality. The originality of this thesis lies in its effort to develop a dialogue between socio-spatial theory and urban poverty literature developed by China scholars. In this way, the thesis strives to comprehensively investigate the top-down and bottom-up manifestations of socio-spatiality in relation to the Chinese Party-state and the ways in which it interacts with urban poverty and poverty alleviation in China. In this context, this thesis aims to make a conceptual contribution to both literatures by proposing the notion of fragmented hegemony. Here, it is suggested that the theory of hegemony advanced by socio-spatial perspectives provides a fresh understanding of the study of legitimacy of the Chinese Party-state by challenging the authoritarianism-democracy dichotomy embedded in mainstream political science literature. At the same time, the fragmented nature of poverty and poverty alleviation policies in China are investigated through socio-spatial theory, which will in turn serve to embed them in Chinese case.

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