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Urban China Series featuring Tang Beibei – The Making of “New Citizens:” Landless Farmers and Urban Governance in China

February 6, 2023 @ 8:30 pm 10:00 pm

Speaker: Tang Beibei, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University

This talk examines landless farmers who have entered Chinese urban life as urban residents in an organized and managed way as cities expand and spread. It explores in what ways and to what extent the central government’s initiatives on the integration of landless farmers into the urban economy and urban society have been carried out at local levels and how the local state has responded to the emergence of landless farmers in the cities. Through qualitative research into landless farmers in the city of Suzhou, this study explores urban development not only as incorporation through the market, but also as economic and social integration through local governance. Governance of landless famers has become a local state-building process through developing local urbanization trajectories, local fiscal strategies, and inter-city competition. As a result, the making of new citizens goes hand in hand with local state-building during China’s urbanization. 

​Beibei Tang is Professor of China Studies at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University. She has undertaken extensive ethnographic research across different localities in China, with particular focuses on local govern­ance, social stratification, and state-society relations in urban China. Her research is published in high-impact journals such as The China Quarterly, The China Journal, and Journal of Contemporary China. She is the author of Governing Neighborhoods in Urban China (Cornell University Press 2023) and China’s Housing Middle Class (Routledge 2018), the co-author of Class and the Communist Party of China, 1978-2021 (Routledge 2022), the co-editor of Suzhou in Transition (Routledge 2021), and the winner of the 2015 Gordon White Prize (The China Quarterly). She is a member of the editorial board of The China Journal and The China Quarterly.

This event series is made possible by the generous support of the MIT Sustainable Urbanization Lab, the School of Community and Regional Planning at the University of British Columbia, and the Harvard Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies.


February 6, 2023
8:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Event Categories:


Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies


Presented via Zoom

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