China and Inner Asia

Organized Panel Session

10 - Mundane Matters: Everyday Politics in Chinese Metropolises

7/6/2018
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Jacaranda I, First Floor

How do the seemingly mundane practices in life matter to our understanding of urban politics against the backdrop of powerful state-initiated social engineering programs? While the conceptualization of everyday politics has generated many insights, how can we go beyond a dualistic framework of domination and resistance and explore the nuances and complexity in the ways power works? This interdisciplinary panel explores these questions through case studies in several metropolises in Greater China. By showing how various groups envision their positions in society and mobilize resources and networks to deal with “practical” issues in everyday life, this panel shows how people challenge and shape larger urban governance schemes and living environments, without necessarily the intention to resist the powerful during institutional isomorphism and urban transformation.


Zhang and Santos examine how the introduction of western-style human waste management infrastructures in modern Canton encountered bitter obstacles given the existence of an indigenous alternative. Ling analyzes container housing as migrant workers’ precarious yet strategic adaption against urban expansion and forced relocation in Shanghai. Kang illustrates the multifaceted resource strategies of grassroots NGOs in Shanghai, Beijing and Chengdu reacting to bureaucratic and capital controls. He explains how social protests created a favorable political environment to overwhelm church-based opposition and made Taipei the first Asian city to realize marriage equality. Cheng demonstrates how covert practices such as documenting court hearing and engaging in community initiatives revitalize movement abeyance in Hong Kong. Cho and Hurst, who are field experts, discuss the empirical and theoretical implications.

Presentations:

Edmund W. Cheng

Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong

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Yi Kang

Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong

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William Hurst

Northwestern University, United States

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Edmund W. Cheng

Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong

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Yi Kang

Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong

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Minhua Ling

Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

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Jun Zhang

City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

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Gonçalo Santos

University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

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Mun Young Cho

Yonsei University, Hong Kong

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