Panel III: Urban/Rural Futures: Narrating Changing Worlds in City and Countryside
The shift to a predominantly urban Chinese society – in accordance with statistical realities - has been celebrated as an “epochal event” by Chinese policymakers. Coinciding with Xi Jinping’s accession to power and the following proclamation of a “new era” of “socialism with Chinese characteristics”, it has given rise to a new thinking about the urban and the rural in policy circles, the media, and, increasingly, the wider public. The panel juxtaposes these official and semi-official narratives with practices of community building in different settings and by different actors to gain insights into the current making and remaking processes of China’s urban and rural worlds.
The city and the countryside are both increasingly produced, consumed, and understood through digital platforms. The first two presentations discuss how wanghong (being famous on the internet) urbanism has started to shape Chinese cities, and, in comparison, how a social media campaign like the “new farmers plan” on the digital platform Douyin, has started to reinvent rurality. These rural online practices are closely intertwined with urban markets. Urban gardening, the focus of the third paper, more directly carries rural practices into the city. In contrast to these latest trends, the fourth paper investigates the increasingly difficult conditions under which long-term proponents of China’s urbanization, rural migrants, try to make their urban homes home. Overall, the presentations shed light on the destruction and reconstruction of urban and rural worlds under the conditions of a new epoch in the making.
June 16, 2023, 9:30 – 11:00 AM
Chair: Björn Alpermann (University of Würzburg)
Carwyn Morris (Leiden University)
Wanghong Urbanism: The Making of Urban Digital Spectacle in China and Europe
(Self)Representations of Rurality and ‘New Farmers’ on Douyin
Tan Xiaohong (Guangdong University of Technology / Fellow Heidelberg)
Urban Gardening in Guangzhou
Li Xin (Nanjing Agricultural University / Fellow Würzburg)
Housing Insecurity and Rural Migrants’ Coping Strategies during the COVID-19 Pandemic in China