Social space: exploring the production of space in rural southwestern China

PhD Project

This doctoral project seeks to understand the production of space in rural southwestern China, trying to explore how conceptions of space in these communities are influenced by different rural entrepreneurs at the interface between physical changes to the rural landscape via production modes and technologies and discourses introduced by external agents, and social, political, cultural and economic processes often enacted via sociocultural practices found among local residents. The overall research question is: what is the role and significance of rural entrepreneurs (such as returning migrant workers, professional farmers, urban capitalists, the young entrepreneurs etc.) in the current production of rural space of southwestern China?

Objectives of the research are in particular:

(a) to understand what is happening about rural entrepreneurship in rural space of southwestern China including voices in literatures and the characteristics of study area,

(b) to explore what and how is rural entrepreneurship influence the production rural space recent 10 years, in both land use(cover) changes manifestation and social relations changes through daily life, and

(c) discuss how local governance could adapt, support and regular rural entrepreneurs at local scale.

The study will be based on mixed-methods, key methods applied are discourse analysis, semi-structured interviews, geospatial analyses, statistics analysis and stakeholder network analysis. The research attempts to clarify how rural entrepreneurs and other rural dwellers co-produce new understandings of spaces via a complex mix of modern technologies and cultural practices, allows large implications for how we push the discussions on space production in geography forward by including the rural, as well as how we understand the production of a new rural countryside emerging at this interface in China.