Territorial Urbanization and the Party-State in China

CC-portraitChina Studies Centre, University of Sydney

Carolyn Cartier

12.00pm – 1.30pm, 2 June 2015
Room 310, Old Teachers College (A22) University of Sydney NSW 2006

This seminar develops the concept of territorial urbanization in China through the historical conditions and research design problems of the Chinese administrative divisions in relation to comparative territorial thought. Subnational territories are not constitutionally guaranteed in China and the state maintains powers to establish new cities and enlarge and merge existing ones, and even eliminate others, with significant implications for geographically targeted economic development and governing powers. These territorial strategies, which administer urban expansion, rationalize government administration, and organize capital investment through continuing economic growth, are negotiated within the political system of the Chinese party-state and decided through non-transparent processes by the Chinese central government. Yet literature on urbanization in China often subsumes party-state territorialization practices under internationally recognizable epistemologies such as urban and regional planning and simplifies and contains their urban-economic transformations to fixed spaces in zone development. This analysis examines cities within the system of administrative divisions and pursues the question of the reproduction of state power through territorial urbanization in the Shanghai Pudong New Area, where a territorial merger doubled its size and central government policy imagines the future of China’s international financial center.

Carolyn Cartier is a professor of geography and China studies at the University of Technology, Sydney. She is chief investigator of ‘The Geography of Power in China: Urban Expansion and Administrative Empire’, a collaboration with the Center for Research on the Administrative Divisions in China. Her research program focuses on urban and regional change from perspectives on spatial transformation behind the spectacle of rapid growth in China, spanning subjects from territorial governance to the politics of culture and urban aesthetics and the production/consumption transition in the contemporary city. She is an editor of Urban Geography and associate editor of Eurasian Geography and Economics.

Free event with online registration requested: