Of maps and eating bitterness: The politics of scaling in China's South-North Water Transfer Project

Brittany Crow-Miller, Michael Webber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Based on extensive fieldwork as well as a discourse and content analysis of relevant government documents, we identify two important rescalings around China's South-North Water Transfer Project (SNWTP), the world's largest water project to date. These rescalings work in tandem with a discourse around the long-held Chinese ethic of “eating bitterness” (enduring hardship or chiku) and serve to include and exclude stakeholders and manufacture public acceptance of the project in the face of significant social, economic, and ecological trade-offs. We focus on two rescalings—one a more orthodox upscaling to the central government and one that relies on a fragmented, geographically disembodied, subnational scalar construction. Both rescalings operate in representational spaces, but also have important material dimensions. The case of the SNWTP demonstrates how rescaling is not only about power struggles between administrative political units, but can also be used as a political tool to exert power over particular groups of people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-30
Number of pages12
JournalPolitical Geography
Volume61
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017

Keywords

  • China
  • Politics of scale
  • Rescaling
  • South-North Water Transfer
  • Water politics
  • Water transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science

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