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Dancing with shackles? The sociopolitical opportunities, achievements, and dilemmas of cycling activism in Guangzhou, China
Department of Sociology at Nankai University, City University of Hong Kong, China.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute for Housing and Urban Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5511-2390
2019 (English)In: Journal of Urban Affairs, ISSN 0735-2166, E-ISSN 1467-9906Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Over the last decade, urban cycling has re-emerged as a popular mode oftransportation in Chinese cities. This article examines how grassroots activismcontributed to this cycling renaissance by considering the case ofGuangzhou. In the wake of rapid economic development, the Chinese gov-ernment modified its transportation policies such that cycling was revived,with Guangzhou playing a role in the“rise, fall, and re-emergence”of Chinaas a“cycling kingdom.”We contend that these sociopolitical circumstances ofeconomic development and political opening up provided a structuralopportunity for cycling activists, who gained public visibility and institutionalrecognition through their strategic interaction with both governmental andnongovernmental actors. In addition, activists empowered themselves byaccumulating and transforming their social capital. Their example resonatedwith other marginal organizations and the resulting alliances enhanced thelegitimacy of cycling as a movement. Finally, we identify the dilemmas andlimitations of cycling activism in urban China due to the closure of localgovernance channels and the perception that cycling issues are“nonurgent.”

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-383137DOI: 10.1080/07352166.2019.1592650OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-383137DiVA, id: diva2:1314819
Available from: 2019-05-09 Created: 2019-05-09 Last updated: 2019-05-10Bibliographically approved

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