Temporal Domination and Injustice of Mega Urbanisation Project: Case Study of Guangling New Town in Yangzhou, China

Authors: Yunpeng Zhang*, Division of Geography and Tourism
Topics: Urban Geography
Keywords: temporal domination, mega urbanisation, injustice, China
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2020
Start / End Time: 5:35 PM / 6:50 PM
Room: Plaza Court 2, Sheraton, Concourse Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In response to the recent call to the temporalities of urban changes, to engage with the discussion on the political economy of fast urbanisation in China, this article provides a nuanced understanding of the temporal struggles in, and the lived experience of, mega urban projects. The research is built on Bourdieu’s theorisation of social practice and temporal power but adds two critical elements that are overlooked in his work – scale and cross-field effects. Through this update, this article first broadens the debates on temporalities of urban space production to include a wide range of temporal practices such as sequencing, timing, deferring or rushing. Secondly, it analyses how power is exercised through control of time in materialising mega urbanisation projects by agents embedded in different interrelated and hieratical fields and the resultant injustice in urban space production. I will illustrate these points through an in-depth study of a new town project in Yangzhou, which aimed to demolish rural settlements of 8.25 km2 in order to build a new city. Using empirical materials collected from interviews and land transaction records during two phases of fieldwork (July to August 2018 and June-August 2019), I show how urban mega projects are used by elite politicians to spatialise as well as temporalise their power. By analysing different temporal practices involved in land clearance and development, the article will also show how time serves as an important technology of producing and maintaining graduated citizenship and engenders different subjectivities.

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