Reading Development

Random readings on society, politics and change – Jorge Carrillo

Contesting speculative urbanisation and strategising discontents

Hyun Bang Shin – I have argued in this essay that China’s speculative urbanisation is both an ideological and a political project that disrupts and destroys the lives of the masses, while it is the few that benefits from it. As the state and capital proceed with their heavy investment in fixed assets and rewrite the built environment, displacement becomes the norm for villagers and urbanites. As China’s urbanisation hinges on the primary circuit of industrial production as much as it does on the secondary circuit of built environment, there is a potential for workers’ struggles to form an alliance with urban inhabitants’ struggles to protect their neighbourhoods and communities. In other words, China’s particular trajectory of urbanisation requires the right to the urban struggles to be inclusive of the struggles by the new working class, who are fighting for their access to the ‘redistribution’ of surplus value and for their ‘recognition’ as legitimate citizens and not simply migrants (Han, 2013; see Laclau and Mouffe, 2001 for the emphasis on ‘redistribution’ and ‘recognition’). The cross-class alliance of the type above, which had emerged and prompted the brutal oppression in 1989, would be something that may not be established in the near future but remains to be a political imperative if the hegemony of the dominant interests is to be subverted. The alliance is in need of further inclusion of village farmers whose lands are expropriated to accommodate investments to produce the urban, and of ethnic minorities in autonomous regions such as Tibet and Xinjiang whose cities are appropriated and restructured to produce Han-dominated cities.

[Read essay]

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, 6 May 2014 by in Urban issues and tagged , .
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