China and Inner Asia
Session Abstract: There is no question that China’s rapid and dramatic urbanization is one of the biggest stories of the past few decades and will continue to be for several more. Existing scholarship has examined urban growth strategies, conflict over land, public goods provision, and new social classes such as entrepreneurs, the middle class, and migrant workers. Scholars working on urban-rural integration and rural revitalization (common policy terms in China) share an interest in these issues, but have focused more on how urbanization has affected the countryside: its impact on the incentives of county, township, and village governments, as well as the consequences for village land, labor, and capital resources. Despite the recent proliferation of studies on this topic, surprisingly little attention has been devoted to the effects of urban-rural integration on governance and changing power dynamics within Chinese villages. This panel brings together four scholars working on rural governance in China. Two papers are focused on the spatial transformation of urbanizing villages, examining how social differences are materialized in new rural built environments (Rodenbiker) and how village redevelopment plans have shaped power relations among investors, village committees, and individual households (Kan). The other two papers are concerned with innovations in village administration, including the digital social credit rating system (Zeuthen) and the expansion of social programs to reduce villager grievances (Chuang). Drawing on a variety of sources and fieldwork conducted in different parts of the countryside, these papers promise to invigorate debates about rural transformation and governance in China.
Paper Presenter: Karita Kan – Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Paper Presenter: Julia Chuang – Boston College
Paper Presenter: Jesse Rodenbiker – Cornell University
Paper Presenter: Jesper W. Zeuthen – Aalborg University
Co-Author: Qiuyu Jiang – IT University of Copenhagen