HKU TOURISM SEMINAR SERIES
The politics of land governance amidst tourism boom in Southwest China: Commodification, cultural revival and state-led conservation
Meeting ID: 924 4784 0119
Venue: Room 10.10, 10F, The Jockey Club Tower
Registration Link: https://hkuems1.hku.hk/hkuems/ec_hdetail.aspx?guest=Y&ueid=77404
(Registration is required for in person attendance only)
Dr Junxi Qian
Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, HKU
Junxi Qian is a social and cultural geographer who works at the intersection of geography, urban studies and cultural studies. He has published more than 100 articles and book chapters in the English or Chinese language. Junxi's recent research examines entrepreneurial religion, indigenous development and cultural economies of the technological and innovation industries in China.
This talk examines the politics of land governance amidst rapid tourism development in Lugu Lake, south-west China, inhabited by an ethnic group called Mosuo. Since the 1980s, Mosuo people have spearheaded successive waves of construction booms in the lakeshore lands to enliven a grassroots tourism economy, while economic empowerment has played a key role in reviving traditional household organization, familial relations and cultural practices. However, since the early 2000s, grassroots development initiatives have been subject to increasingly stringent regulation imposed by the local state, on the ground of conserving the natural environment and protecting the cultural authenticity of built environments. Based on this case, this talk foregrounds two points of view. First, land-based tourism development is not simply about commodification but also encoded by extra-economic interests and pursuits. Most importantly, land development provides the most effective means for accumulating communal resources that enable an indigenous cultural revival. Second, instead of promising a post-development rural future, state-led conservation has consolidated state initiatives of capital accumulation, while alienating people from grassroots cultural resources and undermining communal sustainability. Above all, this talk aims to enrich our understandings of how the state and society are contingently constituted amidst indigenous development, in this case tourism-led and land-based.