PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2020, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (7): 1149-1159.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2020.07.008

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Understanding the changing social space of rural tourism community based on territorialization theory: A case study of Qinghutang Village, Mount Danxia

WENG Shixiu(), YANG Jirong   

  1. School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
  • Received:2019-05-07 Revised:2019-10-05 Online:2020-07-28 Published:2020-09-28
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41771008);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41201139);Special Program for Key Basic Research of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China(2013FY111900)


Rural tourism development led to a process of rapid change and reconstruction of rural communities. Social space theory provides a new paradigm for understanding these phenomena. However, Chinese research of social space in tourism is generally in the stage of introduction, mainly focusing on the analysis of spatial production process and failing to link the spatial production process with power relations and power production and reproduction from the perspective of power-space interaction. One of the cores of social space theory is the interaction between power and space, while the territorialization theory endogenous of human geography is an important perspective to analyze the power-space relationship in the real world. Therefore, taking Qinghutang Village of the Danxia Mountain as an example, this study analyzed how the multiple stakeholders of rural tourism community promote the transformation of social space using the territorialization theory focusing on power-space relations, and further summarized the power-space relationships intertwined in this process and the mechanism of social space change. Through the analysis of Qinghutang Village, this study found that local residents, management committee of Mount Danxia, and tourism capital territorialized around the space of Qinghutang Village with the rapid tourism development in the Danxia Mountain. The local residents built a relatively independent territory for tourism development through the exchange of land resources. The management committee expanded the administrative territory to the community by means of transferring land property and controlling the settlement, while the tourism capital built the market territory through the transformation of land ownership and construction of tourism consumption space. It is the reconstruction of the power relationship pattern that promoted the transformation of the social space of Qinghutang Village. In this process, the implementation of powers is subject to the manipulation and control of the community spaces by the subjects of power, that is, through territorialization. It is in the process of territorialization that power used spaces to enter the core of community life and production, and promoted the reconstruction of tourism community through the reproduction of spaces. This article argues that the social spatial change of rural tourism community is a continuous process of territorialization, which is caused by the interaction between "social organization of territory" and "territorial organization of the society". The multiple stakeholders in the rural tourism community construct the corresponding territory, and then implement their own powers within the relatively clear territory.The intervention of new powers and the construction of new territories will break the existing power relationship pattern and territory structure, leading to the transformation of social space. In this process, whether it is top-down governance power or bottom-up resistance power, real control can only be realized through the spatialization of territories construction, and powers have been spatialized in the process of territorialization, and also achieved its own production and reproduction. The analysis based on territorialization has important implications for the practice of property rights systems in tourism communities and the tourism space governance.

Key words: territorialization theory, social space, rural tourism community, Mount Danxia