Professor Flemming Christiansen is director of the National Institute of Chinese Studies (NICS), White Rose East Asia Centre, University of Leeds. His specialty is livelihoods, social strata and classes in China, Chinese rural development and urbanisation, and identity politics in China and among Chinese.
The lecture will be structured in three main parts, each of which will be dealing with a distinct perspective on the urbanisation process in China: (a) Urbanisation as a part of the socialist political-economy strategy; (b) Urbanisation as urban and rural community building; and (c) Global dimensions of urbanisation.
The aim of this will be to provide comprehensive overviews of major dynamics underlying and guiding the urbanisation processes in China, explaining the most important institutional frameworks for these processes.
The major setting is that China's urbanisation rate of about 47 pct. (2009, up from less than 20 pct. in 1980) and relatively sustained large economic growth rates (averaging around 9 percent over a decade) also involves a significant measure of social inequality (Gini coefficient of 0.47) and an impending rapid ageing of the population from about 10 pct. (2005) to about 30 pct. (2050) of the population above 60 years of age. The combination of highly dynamic changes in the population's social environment, demographic composition, internal inequality and overall affluence will be discussed in terms of policies dealing with (a) the deployment of economic resources for food security and growth, (b) organisation of social and labour structures, as well as (c) the integration of the Chinese economy in the world economy. The starting point is that urbanisation did not start from a "clean slate" at the outset of the reforms in 1979, but evolved under particular pressures that determined a range of social and institutional outcomes.
Urbanisation as a part of the socialist political-economy strategy
1) The legacy of the people's commune system
2) Household registration and household responsibility
3) Institutional change and the rise of social inequality
4) The "scientific concept of development"
Urbanisation as urban and rural community building
1) New formats of public policy
2) Social policy
3) From village and street committee to community
4) Social inclusion/exclusion
Global dimensions of urbanisation
1) Urbanisation and economic development
2) Export processing, labour mobility and foreign direct investment
3) Global norms of development
Some sample readings: