The Evolution of Regional Uneven Development in Jiangsu Province under China's Growth-oriented State Ideology
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This doctoral project explores the evolution of regional uneven development in Jiangsu province under China’s growth-oriented state ideology during the economic reform era. Based upon a set of political-philosophical and historical analyses, it is argued that, as the foundation of China’s regime legitimacy in the reform era, the growth orientation of China’s dominant state ideology consisted of two key rationales, those are, China’s utilitarianism and its pragmatism. And, in order to concretely study the evolution of the regional unevenness between the south and north of Jiangsu province, two city-regions were selected as the basis for detailed empirical research. They are Changzhou city in the south and Nantong city in the north. Both the theoretical and empirical analyses were conducted under a three-stage periodization of economic reform. These are: the first stage (the late 1970s – the earlier 1990s), the second stage (the mid-1990s – the earlier 2000s), and the third stage (the earlier 2000s – 2013). It is found that, generally speaking, the dominant growth-oriented state ideology exercised key influences on regional unevenness in Jiangsu through a set of utilitarian and pragmatic institutional expressions and practices. And, corresponding to the influence of the growth-oriented state ideology, there are different kinds of strategically inscribed structural selectivities being expressed during different stage of the economic reform. Such selectivities are mainly exhibited by, and practised through, the dominant local growth patterns of the respective stage of the reform. Those are: TVE-driven growth, development zone-driven growth, and state-led, urbanisation-driven growth. Whilst the actual practices of these local growth patterns all decisively (re)produced and (re)shaped regional unevenness, they also exhibited, and were subject to, polymorphic and multidimensional sociospatial relations and processes which may be explored from the perspective of the so-called TPSN framework. It is proposed that whilst regional unevenness in Jiangsu province was increasing during the first two stages of reform, it was reduced during the third stage, though in a highly unsustainable and socially unjust fashion.
PhD in Geography