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[Cancelled] Politics of Legitimacy and Nature Governance: The Preservation of Banyan Trees in Guangzhou

March 25, 2022 @ 12:30 pm

By Yimeng Yang (National Taiwan University) |

This presentation has been canceled.

Taking urban tree preservation in Guangzhou as an empirical case, this paper seeks to examine how the local government in China consolidates the legitimacy of its rule through nature governance, and how it responds to state oversight while pacifying social resistance through different nature governance techniques. The discussion will focus on the social controversies and policy-making surrounding the management of banyan trees in Guangzhou between November 2020 and October 2021. Findings show that the local government adjusted its tree management policies three times to consolidate three different types of legitimacy of rule: (1) to consolidate the ideological legitimacy of Guangzhou as a modern metropolis by promoting tree species renewal, (2) to consolidate the procedural legitimacy of government-led policy-making by incorporating public participation in the face of the ensuing citizen resistance, and (3) to consolidate the performance legitimacy of environmental protection by further promoting the ecologization and heritagization of trees in the face of political scrutiny from the central authority. This paper argues that nature governance is a political process of legitimacy construction for local governments that mediates between the state and society. Examining the evolutionary mechanisms of nature governance techniques will also help to further explore the particular state-society relations in authoritarian China.


March 25, 2022
12:30 pm
Event Category:


Arbeitskreis Geographische Stadtforschung im Entwicklungskontext


Transient Spaces and Societies