|Title||Running and Reading Remnant Danwei Walls in China's Post-socialist City|
Built on visual and running/walking ethnography this article analyzes visual traces left on remnant danwei walls in post-socialist China. The article considers danwei walls as yiji (remnant traces) that serve as loci of political memory and as medium to host other visual traces by a variety of different actors. Drawing on a range of concepts from cultural studies and visual ethnography, the article provides a close reading of these traces treating them as important historical documents and examples of how human actors interact with the built environment during China's post-socialist transformation. The article is built around three case studies each of which captures different stages of the physical decay of the danwei as represented in the materiality of the walls in varying states of (dis)repair and the different nature of the visual traces local actors have left on them. The analysis of traces—understood as signs on the walls as well as the walls themselves—reveals a story of the ways in which humans interact with a very specific part of China's built environment at a moment of transition and of how relationships between these human actors change in the process. The article provides a reading of visual social phenomena, contributing to the understanding of signifying practices in post-socialist urban China.
|Keywords||China; danwei walls; visual ethnography; walking ethnography; post-socialist city; urban history|
|Journal||positions: asia critique|
|Publisher||Duke University Press|
|Accepted author manuscript|
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)