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Local ecological modernisation under the trajectory of urban entrepreneurialism in China: the case of Manzhuang Town

Jia, Ning 2022. Local ecological modernisation under the trajectory of urban entrepreneurialism in China: the case of Manzhuang Town. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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ABSTRACT Since the reform and opening up since 1978, China’s economy has been rising rapidly and made remarkable achievements under the so-called industrialisation of modern society. However, huge environmental costs have also been paid, with the pollution sources increasingly spreading from cities to the vast hinterlands for more than two decades. In recent years, the state of China has recognised this devastating occurrence by the progressive promotion of social eco-transition. Therefore, the studies on how to reconcile economic development and environmental protection through the practice at local scale are very urgent, especially for the (post)suburban area where the large-scale industrial production units have been (re)located. By reviewing mainstream studies on ecological modernisation theory (EMT) and urban entrepreneurialism, the research hypocritically proposes a theoretical framework to conceptualise and explore the eco-transition of modern industrial society in China. In this regards, three key research questions have been raised: (1) Under urban entrepreneurialism, to what extent does the urban competition and competitiveness patterns shape the win and lose of local ecological modernisation of circular economy and industrial upgrading? (2) Under urban entrepreneurialism, how does the place making towards image construction fail to deliver the local ecological modernisation through macro-economic restructuring towards tertiary industry such as leisure tourism? (3) How does the complex political-economic situation in the general capitalist trajectory of urban entrepreneurialism relate to the ecological modernisation at local places? To answer these questions, a multi-method research design has been adopted centring on the case study approach, accompanied by in-depth interview and documentary analysis. Through investigating the transitional development of the case study area - Manzhuang under China’s national state policy context of ‘ecological civilisation’ and the ‘environmental protection inspectorate’, the events of extending (green) industrial chains by PVC and Pharmaceutical downstream production, and boosting leisure tourism by the making of Tianyi Lake Resort has been examined. In this vein, this research has identified and explained the particular political-economic problems that have structurally constrained current ecological modernisation practices at the local scale in China. For theorisation, the overlapped tempo-spatial relationship between ecological modernisation practices and the trajectory of urban entrepreneurial growth has been confirmed in the historical development of capitalism. In the end, five contributions and two limitations of this research are drawn, followed by a specific consideration on policy recommendations.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ecological modernisation, Urban entrepreneurialism, Local scale, Territorial competition, Economic restructuring, Circular economy, Cleaner Production, China
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2023 01:30

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