Land Acquisition in Urban Villages : Development of Civic Territoriality in Xiamen, China

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Title: Land Acquisition in Urban Villages : Development of Civic Territoriality in Xiamen, China
Author: Ye, Yazhen
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta, Sosiaalitieteiden laitos
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Research
Helsingfors universitet, Statsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för socialvetenskaper
Publisher: Helsingfors universitet
Date: 2016
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Social Policy (prior to 1.8.2011)
Abstract: This thesis studies the territorial strategies, i.e. civic territoriality, in an urban village, namely Houpu in Xiamen, China. The term civic territoriality is introduced by Hsing (2010) and it refers to the social actors’ strategies and struggles to defend territoriality in a physical and discursive sense. The purpose of this study is to find out which territorial strategies were developed by the villagers when they faced land acquisition. The data was collected by semi-structured interviews. Villagers and village cadres in Houpu were interviewed in order to explore their attitudes toward the redevelopment and their experiences with negotiating for compensations with the developer. The main research question for this study was: what kind of 'civic territoriality' did the villagers and the village collective develop when they faced land acquisition? Moreover, other sub-questions were formulated for the purpose of understanding the case thematically. Through this case study, two main categories of civic territoriality were detected in the redevelopment project. When villagers acted as a collective actor, they used their civic territoriality to reinforce their collective identity and to make decisions on the resettlement issues, whereas individual villagers utilized their civic territoriality to obtain more benefits during the land acquisition. The strategies developed by the individual villagers consisted of bargaining for higher monetary compensation and increasing the number of their family members in order to obtain more resettlement housing. Moreover, this thesis constructed a model to explain the involvement of different actors – the state, the developers, the villagers and the village committee - in the redevelopment projects. Different types of land acquisition compensations – monetary and housing compensation – and the attitudes of the village cadres and villagers toward the redevelopment of Houpu and land acquisition were also analyzed.

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