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Title: Street vending in Guangzhou : an urban tradition and its modern fate
Author: Wang, Ruxi
ISNI:       0000 0004 7652 2411
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2018
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In recent decades, Chinese government’ eviction of vendors and its resultant frequent conflicts have drawn much attention of the society. This thesis is concerned with this ongoing urban politics, specifically with regard to how the anti-vending ideologies took shape in history, and how it is practiced as an exclusionary geography today. Tracing into historical archives, the thesis finds that street vending was a long-standing urban tradition in the imperial China which only started to be marginalised and evicted since the late 19th century. In sight of the remarkable parallels between the eviction today and a century ago, the thesis views the present street vending politics not as a newborn incident but with reference to its earlier histories. Through delineating the historical continuities between the early modern and the contemporary era, the thesis develops an account of the historical formation of anti-vending ideologies. Nonetheless, China’s tradition of street vending is so deep that it lasts well into the contemporary urban life despite government’s crackdown. Through a fieldwork case in Guangzhou, the thesis explores how the modern marginalisation is experienced by vendors in everyday life and how they actively adjust themselves to carve out living space in the fissures of the urban administration and economy system. It finds that the majority of vendors do not fully settle in the city, but rather live a life that is translocally maintained between their home villages and the city; it further proposes to see street vending as a ‘translocal urbanism’ that transplants the traditional occupation into modern environment and reshapes China’s urban landscape. Through bridging the history and the present, the thesis tries to move beyond the influential ‘revanchist urbanism’ approach which considers the eviction of street vending as a neoliberal strategy of local development, and offers a historically-informed understanding that is more complete and more situated in China’s specific context.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available