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Prof. Dr. Bettina Gransow

Bettina Gransow

Fellow in the project "Social Worlds: China's Cities as Spaces of Worldmaking"

Short Biography

Bettina Gransow is Associate Professor of Chinese Studies at Freie Universität Berlin. Her current research foci are on migrants in Chinese megacities, on infrastructure as a Chinese development strategy, and on Chinese sociology in a global perspective.

Positions Held: 2003-2016 Professor for Chinese Politics at the Institute of Chinese Studies and the Otto-Suhr-Institute of Political Science, FU Berlin; 2009-2012 Guest Professor at Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU), School of Sociology and Anthropology; 2000-2002 Asian Development Bank/ GFA Hamburg (Team Leader “Capacity Building for Social Assessment in Chinese Investment Projects”).

Recent Publications: Migrant Actions and Government Responses: African Traders in the Pearl River Delta (2021), in Immigration Governance in East Asia. Norm Diffusion, Politics of Identity, Citizenship, ed. By Gunter Schubert, Franziska Plümmer, and Anastasiya Bayok, London: Routledge 2021, 43-66; Contestation Over Moral Economy: Distant Resettlement from the Three Gorges Area to the Pearl River Delta (2021), in The Political Economy of Hydropower in Southwest China and Beyond, ed. by Jean-François Rousseau and Sabrina Habich-Sobiegalla, Palgrave Macmillan 2021, 69-88.


Worlding the Pearl River Delta. Conceptualizing the socio-spatial reconfiguration of a mega-urban region from the perspective of migration dynamics and city-making (Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hong Kong) (working title)

While it is easy to locate the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region on a map, it needs multiple socio-spatial perspectives to decipher the social and political dynamics of urbanization processes within and of the mega-urban PRD-region. Since the early 21st century economic transformation and upgrading (namely reindustrialization and tertiarization) in the PRD are impacting strongly on the situation of migrants, migration governance and the socio-spatial landscape of the mega-urban region. While the Chinese government is promoting regional integration by increased infrastructure connectivity and by creating a Greater Bay Area (GBA), cities such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong with their different histories, identity discourses and city-branding all have their own worlding strategies. Starting from dominating/competing narratives on the future of the PRD the project will analyze Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong in terms of the intrinsic logic as three cities with different historical legacies, specific symbolic sub-worlds and particular strategies of worlding their city. The overall aim of the project is to identify the intrinsic logic of the three cities based on their specific characteristics, migration dynamics and city-making processes as building blocks to conceptualize the socio-spatial reconfiguration of the PRD as the production process of a space of worldmaking.