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The 'Housing Rationale' of Chinese Urban Youth: A Case Study of Shanghai

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Deakin Downtown

Level 12, Tower 2, Collins Square

727 Collins Street

Docklands, Victoria 3008

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Research for Educational Impact (REDI) and the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI) jointly present:

The 'Housing Rationale' of Chinese Urban Youth: A Case Study of Shanghai

Associate Professor Xiaoming Luo, Shanghai University

Since 2000, urban youth in Chinese cities have seen an increase in accommodation problems. Whilst young people have always had housing difficulties, the current situation differs due to the subtle influences housing has on various and multiple aspects of their lives. Having to deal with issues surrounding housing has led to a re-think in ideas and attitudes about what are suitable living standards and modified their everyday behavior on a large-scale, constraining enthusiasm and imagination about their future, reshaping their aspirations of what is an ideal career path and impacting upon the development of personal and romantic relationships.

In this presentation, I term this new form of dealing with everyday life as the ‘Housing Rationale’. It refers to one particular contradictory social emotion, based on a supposedly ‘rationale’ way of addressing housing issues and which always works as an ideological mechanism in contemporary Chinese society.

Based on quantitative survey data and interview responses, I will describe what kind of social emotion has been shaped by this housing problem in China, especially through the concept of an ‘asset’ or ‘property’, which develops during the housing market and in young people’s real everyday lives? How do youth understand the meaning of ‘improvement’ that is usually defined by the government and the market, in this social emotion? Why are they driven by the desire for bigger houses? And these questions lead us into some further judgments on how neoliberalism works by making new social emotions and ruling new individual subjectivities through the housing problem.

Xiaoming Luo

Xiaoming Luo is an associate professor working in the Program of Cultural Studies at Shanghai University. Her doctoral thesis focused on curriculum reform in senior high school driven by the Chinese government and was published by Shanghai Bookstore Press in 2012. She has also published one textbook for college students and young people who have an interest in Cultural Studies in Mainland China. Now her research interest is on urban culture and social space in everyday life, especially on how to rethink and create new kind of public space in contemporary China.

She is one of the organisers of the “Our Cities” citizen forum since 2012, whose aim is to invite ordinary people to come together to discuss the city’s problems by themselves. She is also one of the convenors for Crossroads in Cultural Studies 2018 in Shanghai. As a board member of the IACS, she is editing the Inter-Asia Reader of the Chinese version, which will be published in 2018

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Deakin Downtown

Level 12, Tower 2, Collins Square

727 Collins Street

Docklands, Victoria 3008

Australia

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