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Title: Exploring community building by way of community construction in contemporary China : a case study in City Z of eastern China
Author: Song, Litao
ISNI:       0000 0004 7658 0734
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2018
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The question of community has been robustly debated by Chinese scholars. I approach the topic by drawing from the community research in Western countries at the beginning of this thesis to interpret 'community' in China and further research is explored with regards to community construction. It is argued by this research that 'community' was similarly used by Chinese scholars as rural villages at the very beginning but it has also developed particularities in China's particular context. By reviewing the socio-cultural and historical context of China's society, 'community' in communist forms provides further details to understand the rise of community construction. As a response to the reform of the social welfare system, restructuring of urban administration and the demands of urbanisation, 'community' in China has been accommodated in urban and rural environments, both in pre-existing and newly-constructed ways. Those urban and rural environments become the background against which policies and practices contest and struggle with each other over influence on community construction. In particular, rural villages and communities that have been transformed by the implementation of community construction are the focus of this research. This thesis qualitatively analyses the campaign of community construction currently being undertaken in China by the newly-constructed community PY in city Z in Shandong province, which is situated in Eastern China. Accordingly, fieldwork data has been collected from the case study area, mainly by documentary research, observation and semi-structured interviews, regarding the extraordinary experiences of communal life for residents during the past years, during and after community construction. By using the newly-constructed community as a key exemplar, the thesis comprises an attempt to contribute to the exploration of community building in the context of community construction. Put another way, community construction laid the foundation for an investigation of 'community' that lies in residents' socioeconomic life in the old villages and the newly-constructed community. In order to critically interrogate transformations brought about by community construction, this thesis mainly focuses on the specific lens of processing from rural to urban living. From interpersonal relations, during and after community construction, the influence of physical circumstances and issues with regard to traditions and culture, this thesis shows that a newly-constructed 'community' is accommodating pragmatically to community construction. Community building by way of community construction, the general conclusion is, the newly-constructed settlement by integrating villages is promising for the emergence of 'community', though some problematic aspects exist as well. The future of communities in Chinese society depends on whether the conflicts between the socioeconomic needs of residents, namely achievement of urban status and government's political demands can be reconciled.
Supervisor: Evans, Karen ; Hancock, Lynn Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral