Narratives and pathways towards an ecological civilisation in contemporary China

Geall, Sam and Ely, Adrian (2018) Narratives and pathways towards an ecological civilisation in contemporary China. China Quarterly, 236. pp. 1175-1196. ISSN 0305-7410

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Since the United States committed to withdraw from the UN Paris Agreement on climate change, international observers have increasingly asked if China can take the lead instead to raise global ambition in the context of a world leadership vacuum. Given the country's increasing economic and strategic focus on sustainable and low-carbon innovation, China might seem well placed to do so. However, much depends on the direction of governance and reform within China regarding the environment. To better understand how the government is seeking to make progress in these areas, this article explores key political narratives that have underpinned China's policies around sustainable development (kechixu fazhan) and innovation (chuangxin) within the context of broader narratives of reform. Drawing on theoretical insights from work that investigates the role of power in shaping narratives, knowledge and action around specific pathways to sustainability, this article explores the ways in which dominant policy narratives in China might drive particular forms of innovation for sustainability and potentially occlude or constrain others. In particular, we look at ecological civilization (shengtai wenming) as a slogan that has gradually evolved to become an official narrative and is likely to influence pathways to sustainability over the coming years.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Depositing User: Adrian Ely
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2017 14:32
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 13:20

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Low Carbon Innovation in China - Prospects, Politics and PracticeG1217ESRC-ECONOMIC & SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCILES/K006002/1
Constructing pathways to sustainability: learning across disciplines, sectors, regions and culturesG1820UNESCO-UNITED NATIONS EDUCATION, SCIENTIFIC & CULTURAL ORGISSC2015-TKNB150224114426
STEPS 2nd five years funding (IDS leading) - REVISED COSTSG0733ESRC-ECONOMIC & SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCILRES-588-28-0001