Turning Urban: strengths and vulnerabilities of China’s collectives in the process of urbanisation
Professor Luigi Tomba, Director of the China Studies Centre, The University of Sydney
Co-presented with the China Studies Centre
What does it mean to urbanise? Are industrialisation and urbanisation two aspects of the same process? How do villages have a chance to thrive if a state is determined to urbanise the country?
Drawing on cases in the peri-urban area of the Pearl River Delta, this talk will discuss aspects of China’s rapid urbanisation. It will explore strategies that village collectives have put in place to defend their economic, social and cultural autonomy in the face of the desire of the state to both claim control of ever greater portions of the country’s collective land, and to urbanise as much as possible of the population.
Ultimately, the urbanisation process in China reveals the ultimate struggle between two forms of socialist public property of the land (State and Collective ownership), and at the same time, a competition for the spoils of industrialisation and urbanisation between the state and the collectives (the villages).
In this process, creative forms of local organisation and institutional innovation in China have developed, while both new strengths and new vulnerabilities have emerged as well.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER:
Professor Luigi Tomba is the new director of the University of Sydney China Studies Centre. Before joining the Centre in 2017 he was for 15 years at the Australian National University, most recently as the Associate Director of the Australian Centre on China the World. His work has always been concerned with Cities and with urbanization. His most recent book The Government Next Door: Neighborhood Politics in Urban, was awarded the Association of Asian Studies 2016 Joseph Levenson Prize as best book on Post-1900 China.