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Social Worlds: China's Cities as Spaces of Worldmaking

Social Worlds: China's Cities as Spaces of Worldmaking

Social Worlds: China's Cities as Spaces of Worldmaking
Image Credit: Jannis Schulze

Social networks, communication flows, and power relations are condensed in cities. Global trends spread more quickly through transnational networks between cities. Cities thus function as catalysts, accelerating processes of worldmaking and change.

China's cities have become powerful contenders in the worldwide competition between cities for global capital, labor, and recognition. At the same time, the increasing interconnectedness of Chinese cities, especially since China joined the WTO in 2001, has left deep traces in the socio-spatial order of Chinese cities.

The project focuses, among others, on the following questions: How are social worlds created, transformed and/or marginalized in China's cities in times of rapid social change, advancing urbanization and globalization? How do locally shaped social worlds influence the contention of Chinese cities for global resources and recognition? How do Chinese cities then change the rules and norms of this contention?

It conceptualizes cities both as objects of worldmaking and active agents in world-making processes. Moreover, it combines two analytical foci: a structuralist perspective discussing the interconnectedness of global capitalism, forms of global governance and authoritarian governance structures in China with processes of worldmaking; and a micro perspective on social interaction and communication in interpersonal relations and social worlds of manageable size (family, neighborhood, city district).

Activities of this project: Talks, Lectures, Presentations, Workshops, Interviews

Presentation "Is there a Chinese gentrification? Urban redevelopment and displacement processes in the People's Republic of China" by Elena Meyer-Clement

As part of the 53. Deutsche Historikertag, Elena Meyer-Clement presented her research on "Is there a Chinese Gentrification? Urban Redevelopment and Displacement Processes in the People's Republic of China".

Roundtable "After the War: Regional Perspectives on Afghanistan" with Elena Meyer-Clement

On September 9, 2021, as part of a roundtable of the Asian Futures Seminar Series at the University of Copenhagen, scholars discussed the topic "After the War: Regional Perspectives on Afghanistan" including perspectives of regionally particularly affected countries such as China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, and India.

Screening & Talk Series “Urban Governance and Social Worlds in China’s Cities”

As part of an M.A. seminar at the Institute for Chinese Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, everyone interested was invited to participate in the Screening & Talk Series "Urban Governance and Social Worlds in China's Cities". Artists and filmmakers from four documentary films and one literary project were invited to present their projects.

Presentation „Image of City and Imagining the Future Cities” by Antonie Angerer

On May 22nd 2021 Antonie Angerer was invited to speak at the round table conference “Lively New Towns and Villages, A New Way of Life” organized by the China Urban Planning Institute, Yangtze River Delta Department of Tourism and Culture. In a group of experts and local government officials, the China Urban Planning Institute invited for a discussion to analyze the potential of culture and art in rural revitalization processes.