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Social Constructions of GIS in China’s Changing Urban Governance: The Case of Shenzhen

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Wen Lin


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GIS technologies have developed rapidly in urban China, particularly within local governments, over the past decade. However, such GIS practices in non-Western contexts have not been investigated in depth. The present study attempts to address this gap, drawing on insights from critical GIS and political economy. Scholarship in critical GIS has underlined the importance of power relations in constituting organizational GIS practices, and vice versa. Moreover, perspectives from scalar politics and network analysis provide a useful way to delineate and analyse the spatialized social relations shaping and embedded in GIS constructions. In particular, scaled networks conceptualize social connections and power relations in terms of networks of actors embedded in different spatial extents; within this synthesized framework, we contend, local government organizations serve as both sites and nodes in developing and employing GIS. Through an in-depth case study of the city of Shenzhen, we investigate in what ways both territorial conditions and interrelations across organizational and city boundaries influence governmental GIS development. Such an investigation helps to politicize the constructions of GIS in China’s changing urban governance, which will contribute to ongoing discussions in critical GIS aimed at understanding the mutual constitution of GIS and society.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lin W, Ghose R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cartographica

Year: 2010

Volume: 45

Issue: 2

Pages: 89-102

Print publication date: 18/06/2010

ISSN (print): 0317-7173

ISSN (electronic): 1911-9925

Publisher: University of Toronto Press


DOI: 10.3138/carto.45.2.89


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