Environmental Risks and Collective Action in Urban China

Xiaoyi sun

Nationality Chinese

Year of selection 2013

Institution City University of Hong Kong

Country Hong Kong

Risk Socio-Economics

Post-Doctoral Fellowship

2 years

Protest in an Authoritarian World

Constructions such as infrastructure of waste management and power consumption often trigger reaction from local residents, who perceive such facilities as posing health and safety hazard to their neighborhoods.
Yet, scholarly understanding of the political and social consequences of environmental risks in China is generally inadequate - most of the governments’ measures focus only on the technical aspects of the issues, but often fail to address the political aspects of the issues like environmental justice, equity and mechanism of consultation and participation. This leads to increasing incidence of environmental activism of affected urban residents in voicing their demand for politically viable solutions. Frequent and large-scale environmental activism, however, has been perceived by the party state as posing threat to social stability and triggers resistance within the local government in opening up the public policy decision process. Against this backcloth, this project aims to explore the ways citizens perceive and act collectively towards locally unwanted environmental risks in urban China from a social movement perspective. It has two research purposes.
First, it aims to examine citizens’ perceptions towards environmental risks from locally unwanted land use projects. The way people perceive them is a crucial driving force for their collective actions. The second research purpose of this study is to examine how different risk perceptions and framing strategies lead to different forms of collective action. The interviewees will include activists, residents, NGO leaders, journalists, experts, government officials and other stakeholders.

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