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The Problem Space of Nature in Chongqing: A Conjunctural Analysis of Environmental Crisis Discourses and Local Housing Practices

Michela Bonato


Over the past decade, China’s centralized politics have explored new resources to tame the sustainability question and hinder the possibility for narratives of crisis to institutionalize foci of social and territorial malaise. The party-state rhetoric has focused its attention on inverse discourses of future environmental civilization whereas the current conjuncture shapes the local greenspace as a problem space. The analysis of environmental crisis discourses in Chongqing reveals the conundrum of redefining the commons in transitional times characterized by practices of redenomination of nature reserves and green objectifying high-end real estate advertisement. It points out how the crisis is turned into an opportunity for further uneven development through a process of emplacement on the basis of individualized forms of environmental protection. On the other hand, the digital makes space for alternative narratives of awareness which evoke a sense of social responsibility to understand the territorial changes and avoid a complete de-politicization of local communities on the governance of commons. The essay reveals how the state of tension within the eco-commodity production and circulation is linked to discourses of emotional proximity to the landscape.


Chongqing; conjuncture; eco-commodity; environmental crisis; gentrification.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/lcm-2022-001-bona

Copyright (©) 2022 Michela Bonato – Editorial format and Graphical layout: copyright (©) LED Edizioni Universitarie

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