Locating Shanghai: Globalization, Heritage Industry, and the Political Economy of Urban Space in a Chinese Metropolis

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Locating Shanghai: Globalization, Heritage Industry, and the Political Economy of Urban Space in a Chinese Metropolis

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Title: Locating Shanghai: Globalization, Heritage Industry, and the Political Economy of Urban Space in a Chinese Metropolis
Author: Arkaraprasertkul, Non ORCID  0000-0003-4721-6522
Citation: Arkaraprasertkul, Non. 2016. Locating Shanghai: Globalization, Heritage Industry, and the Political Economy of Urban Space in a Chinese Metropolis. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
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Abstract: Given the rapid urbanization of Shanghai in the past three decades, how might we attempt to understand the changing meanings, usages, and values of urban space and the built environment, as occupied, lived, and experienced by its residents? In this dissertation, I use ethnography to explore the complex processes of urbanization and globalization in Shanghai – China’s largest and most urbanized city – examining the myriad ways that space orients and even determines the actions, commitments, and everyday sociocultural practices of the various agents and stakeholders involved in this transformation. By investigating how residents, planners, and local officials variously conceive of historic preservation and urban renewal programs, and by eschewing the artificially coherent image of the city promoted by state planners, I paint a more nuanced picture of the specific challenges faced by the populace and their creative methods of negotiation, adaptation, and appropriation in the face of a rapidly changing landscape. My primary case study is the Shanghai’s traditional alleyway neighborhoods (known locally as the lilong: 里弄) through which I investigate issues arising from their restoration and preservation: state discourse and law enforcement, globalization and local heritage, place-making, and aesthetics. What my research demonstrates is how knowledge of the global not only informs but encourages pragmatic residents to "foresee" a different future and voluntarily get involved in the process of urban renewal to enhance their interests. In this dissertation, I develop new concepts such as "gentrification from within," to explain this unique process of demographic change involving capital investment and cultural reproduction, in which the original residents themselves are agents. Also developed in this dissertation are the concepts of "traditionalism as a way of life," and "emancipatory masculinity," which explain the undergirding tension between the traditional belief of homeownership and the economic reality of modern life resulting in unprecedented patterns of social reproduction and familial formation.
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Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:33493323
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