Contesting spatial modernity in late-socialist China

Li Zhang, Christoph Brumann, Nancy N. Chen, Youtien Hsing, Helen F. Siu, Alan Smart, Luigi Tomba

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    A new master plan to restructure the city of Kunming in southwestern China in the context of China's transition to a progrowth, commercialized consumer society has led to massive destruction of century-old inner-city neighborhoods and the displacement of tens of thousands of families. The combination of a sense of lateness (lagging behind national and global development) and an emerging progrowth coalition between local governments and real estate developers is shaping post-Mao urban redevelopment. Several forms of civic opposition and popular discontent have been elicited by the restructuring. Although largely marginalized, these alternative views of urban forms and counter-practices help sustain a much-needed critical point of view that questions and destabilizes the seemingly inescapable machine of development. The insights emerging from the Kunming example help deepen our understanding of late-socialist power dynamics and suggest a new way of understanding state-initiated projects of modernity and development by giving serious attention to their spatial and temporal aspects.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)461-484
    JournalCurrent Anthropology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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