The Discursive Architecture of Citizenship in Urban China

Activity: Talk or presentationPresentation at conference/workshop/seminar


China’s urbanization drive is evidently based on a two-pronged strategy of transforming the identity of both rural land and people. Under this strategy, the urbanization of people incorporates the re-classification of residency status to the urban with or without migration. From within such a policy milieu emerged portrayals of the recent urbanite which draw upon the language of citizenship. In policy texts circulated since the beginning of the 12th Five-Year Plan period, the formerly rural population is meant to be part of the transformative process of “citizenization”. Under the current or 13th Five-Year Plan, there are efforts to implement policies aimed at several “one-million-people issues”. One policy involves encouraging this number of rural-to-urban migrants to take up residency by transferring their household registration. This paper presents a study of the discursive architecture of urban citizenship in policy texts with a focus on those available since 2011. In so doing, the paper goes beyond analytic accounts of demonstrating intentionality in the discursive construction of policy. Further, attention is paid not only to policy-oriented texts attributed to central authorities, but also to those concerning implementation at comparatively local levels of governance. What becomes clear in this analysis are variations in the discursive design of citizenship by level and region at different points of the policy cycle. By attaching importance differently to economic participation relative to social integration, such a heterogeneous discourse of citizenship can be shown to embody tensions between different state actors whilst accommodating to the realities of different regions.
Period22 Jun 2017
Event titleAsia in Motion: Beyond Borders and Boundaries
Event typeConference
LocationSeoul, Korea, Republic ofShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational