Ruralising Culture-led Rural Regeneration in China

  • Xiaotong Guo (Speaker)
  • Kao, S. (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationPresentation at conference/workshop/seminar


The study critically reviews the literature on culture-led rural regeneration in China. Emerging alongside the governments’ ‘rural revitalisation’ (xiangcun zhengxing) initiatives, the literature has demonstrated how culture production can help reshape communities and promote sustainable economic growth, social cohesion, and cultural heritage. Nevertheless, the scholarly exploration of artistic and cultural endeavours within rural areas has encountered obstacles stemming from the ambiguity surrounding the definition of the ‘rural’. This lack of clarity has led to dependence on governmental frameworks, risking the dilution of the unique identities and traditions that characterise these locales. To address this issue, the study aims to contextualise the rural regeneration research within the ongoing discourse surrounding the definition and categorisation of urban and rural spaces. It will move beyond official government definitions, embracing a nuanced understanding of rural through critical human geography and urban studies frameworks. Drawing on theories by Neil Brenner and Rayman Williams, the study suggests that the concept of rural can be better understood in terms of residents’ relationships to nature and the lived experiences as an idyllic lifestyle, blurring traditional divisions between rural and urban areas according to land ownership types as state-owned urban land and farmer collective-owned rural land. To demonstrate the analytical value of this approach, the research delves into the dynamics of two theatre festivals located in rural regions of China. Through a critical lens, it reevaluates the phenomenon of ruralisation within the context of rural theatre festivals and the utilisation of cultural initiatives to drive regeneration in China's countryside.
Period17 Apr 2024
Event titleAssociation of American Geographers Annual Meeting 2024,
Event typeConference
LocationHonolulu, United StatesShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational