Inter-Asia Cultural Studies: Movements

17.1 visual essay
17.1 visual essay



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  »  Issues Contents  2010-04-07 From architecture to advertising

From architecture to advertising—the changes in Shanghai’s urban space over the last fifteen years

WANG Xiaoming (Translated by YANG Liu)


The most powerful resistance to mainstream ideology comes from reality and human’s real life experience. The spatial changes in Shanghai over the last 15 years have increasingly manifested the characteristics of ideology; thus, it will surely encounter the strong emotional resistance from the citizens. At present, such resistance only takes the form of vague mood, some grievance, fierce online attack or vague hints on television. However, it has the potential to change into other forms: from a small number of “cooperative housing” and “refusing buying houses” to large-scale panic selling and withdrawal from stock market. Therefore, the resistance may come from not only indignant people who are being fenced out of the housing market but also from people who are now secretly congratulating themselves for making profit from the market. Like an unbridled wild horse, the spatial reorganization in Shanghai has been advancing in full speed and seems to come to a pretty pass. The power that has profited from it will naturally keep whipping it to make it go faster; however, if it maintains such speed, it will easily trip over the accumulated anger and resistance caused by trampled interests. Once the sustained high-speed development of the urban economy suffers setback and exposes the enormous hidden dangers in economy caused by the spatial reorganization; once the harsh reality sobers people up and makes them realize that the centre space of life is not only within home, but determined by what is outside the residence from the very beginning; once the conflicts in economy and society intensify after the “exposure” and “realization,”, the question will remain: Will the city be as docile as it is now?


Author’s biography
Wang Xiaoming was born in 1955 inShanghai. He is professor of Cultural Studies with ShanghaiUniversity cum professor of Chinese Literature with EastChinaNormalUniversity. His areas of focus are modern and contemporary Chinese literature and contemporary culture.  


Translator’s biography

Yang Liu is a lecturer in the School of Humanities, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore, and received her Master of Arts in English Literature from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and Master of Arts in Translation from Shanghai International Studies University, China. Her area of focus is the theory and practice of Chinese and English translation and the late 18th century and early 19th century British literature. She has published several articles at academic journals and newspapers in China. She is currently a member of American Comparative Literature Association and has presented papers at the 2009 Annual Conference of the American Comparative Literature Association held at HarvardUniversity and at the First Graduate Conference co-hosted by NanyangTechnologicalUniversity and National University of Singapore.


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