Handbook on Urban Development in China
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Handbook on Urban Development in China

Edited by Ray Yep, June Wang and Thomas Johnson

The trajectory and logic of urban development in post-Mao China have been shaped and defined by the contention between domestic and global capital, central and local state and social actors of different class status and endowment. This urban transformation process of historic proportion entails new rules for distribution and negotiation, novel perceptions of citizenship, as well as room for unprecedented spontaneity and creativity. Based on original research by leading experts, this book offers an updated and nuanced analysis of the new logic of urban governance and its implications.
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Chapter 12: Geography of Chinese rock and roll: cultural, political and economic forces intertwined

June Wang and Li Chen


This chapter mines the literature to bring out the richness and heterogeneity of Chinese rock. The first part charts the geography of music as the intersection of situated material space and networked topology, the encounters of which are enacted by, and in return reshape, political, economic and cultural forces. The construction of Chinese rock as a liberal voice in authoritarian China has put it into a continuous struggle with three missions: counter political surveillance, counter capitalist-driven consumerism and counter westernization. Chinese rock thus assembles disparate elements from the two wests: the music style of rock and roll as subversive force in the capitalist-west and, ‘northwestern folk influence’ (xibeifeng) of the western China that imagines a cosmopolitan culture of the silk roads. The second part addresses the live rock scenes (live house and festivals) that has mushroomed in cities, some as forces of dissenters that attempt to construct small commons in cities encroached by neoliberalism, some as state-sanctioned role models to propagate alternative music as new economy and as new city images, or more frequently, as a hybrid form of both.

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