Through the lens of the city of Suzhou, this edited volume presents views on the complex interaction between the central state, market agents, local governments and individuals who have shaped the development of Chinese cities and urban life.
Featuring a range of disciplinary perspectives, contributors to this volume have all undertaken research in one municipality – Suzhou – to consider how history and culture have evolved during the modernisation of Chinese cities and the transformation of urban space, as well as shifting rural–urban relations and urban life during the reform era. The volume is underscored by a complex dynamic system consisting of three interlocked mechanisms through which the central and local state interact: history and culture, social and economic life, and administration and governance. As such, chapters analyse responses both from the state and society as driving forces of local development, with an interplay between tradition and heritage on the one hand and China’s economic and social development on the other.
Suzhou in Transition will appeal to students and scholars of Chinese and urban studies, as well as urban sociology and geography.
Table of Contents
1. Suzhou in Transition: An Introduction
Beibei Tang and Paul Cheung
Part 1. Historical and Cultural Transformation
2. Beautiful Su: A History of Transformations
Stephen L. Koss
3. Historic Landscape and Water Heritage of Suzhou Beyond the Tourist Gaze
Yi-Wen Wang and Christian Nolf
4. Bridal Fashion and Suzhou: The Development of the Tiger Hill Wedding Market
Part 2. Urban Development and Social Life
5. Suzhou’s Modernity within Space and Spatial Relations
6. Urban-Rural Relations in the Context of New Urbanization: The Case of Suzhou
Sheng Zhong and Shengxi Xin
7. Social Fabric in the Wujiang District of Suzhou
Part 3. Administration and Governance
8. Suzhou and the City-Region: The Administrative Divisions in Historical Perspective and Rural-Urban Transition
Hu De and Carolyn Cartier
9. Wujiang in Transition: Urban Development and Changing Grassroots Governance Mechanisms
Beibei Tang is a Senior Associate Professor in the Department of China Studies at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University. She has undertaken extensive ethnographic research across different localities in China, with particular focuses on local governance, social stratification and state–society relations in urban China. She has published her research in high-impact journals such as The China Quarterly, The China Journal and Journal of Contemporary China. She is the author of China’s Housing Middle Class (2018) and the winner of the 2015 Gordon White Prize.
Paul Cheung is a sociolinguist based at Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University. His research is focused on the representation of internal migration in public discourses and cultural factors associated with the flow of population across borders both salient and hidden. He is a principal investigator for the project "Governance in Light of the 'New Citizenship' Campaign in China."