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The Neighbourhood Consensus: Contestation and Legitimacy in China’s Urban Governance

UC Berkeley presents a talk by Luigi Tomba who will speak on China's urban governance.

November 8, 2011 12:00am

Moderator: You-tien Hsing, Professor, Geography, UC Berkeley

Luigi Tomba, Australian National University

Contemporary Chinese neighbourhoods are, despite their spatial and organizational diversification, sites of intense activities of government. In the process of production of a new identity for the Chinese urban dweller, neighbourhoods are sites of conflict, socialization and accommodation of complex interests. While conflicts appear to be catalysed in and contained by the spatial boundaries of modern neighbourhoods they also reveal a convergence between the dominant political discourses of legitimacy and the practices and language of contestation. While this might be seen as an instance of strategic framing, Tomba argues that the dominance of such hegemonic frames, by reproducing an emphasis on “stability” fosters legitimacy for the practices of urban governance.

About the Speaker:
Luigi Tomba is a Political Scientist whose work has long been concerned with political and social change in urban China. Born and educated in Italy, he spent the last twenty years researching Chinese cities, their social and spatial complexity and their transformation into post-industrial and global cities. His work touched many aspects of China's social transformation and its consequences, including local governance, migration, spatial transformation, the middle classes, housing, social stratification and inequality. Since 2005 he has been the co-editor of The China Journal, a world's leading area studies journal on contemporary China, published at The Australian National University. With a history of more than 30 years, it was ranked the highest impact Area Studies Journal in several years over the last decade, according to the Journal Citation Reports. His publications in English include Paradoxes of Labour Reform: Chinese Labour Theory and Practice from Socialism to the Market and edited volumes East Asian Capitalism: Conflicts, Growth and Crisis and Contemporary Chinese Society and Politics, with Andrew Kipnis and Jonathan Unger. His current project is The Neighbourhood Consensus: Social Distinction and Government in China's Communities, from which this talk will be drawn.

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