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    Research paradigm and interdisciplinarity of Chinese literary geography
    Juncheng DAI
    PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY    2015, 34 (4): 526-532.   DOI: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2015.04.014
    Abstract1305)   HTML9)    PDF (876KB)(1572)      

    Literary geography has gained increasing attention from the disciplines of literature and geography. The two disciplines, however, have disparate perspectives on literary geography research. Based on existing literature, this article presents a critical, comparative analysis of literary geography of the two disciplines. There is a steady stream of literature concerned with literary geography from a literary perspective. In contrast, there is a dearth of debates regarding literary geography in the field of geography. Chinese geographical research on literary geography is largely absent to date. The current segregated, discipline-based approach has given rise to the false impression of juxtaposition of two literary geographies. In response, the article calls for a synergetic approach to breaking the disciplinary boundaries in terms of theory, methodology, and practice.

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    Research on middle class in western countries and its implications for studies in China
    Yan BIAN, Chunshan ZHOU, Guojun ZHANG
    PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY    2015, 34 (4): 517-525.   DOI: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2015.04.013
    Abstract1165)   HTML7)    PDF (1209KB)(1602)      

    The concept of middle class is derived from sociology theories in the Western countries. Scholars in the Western countries developed this concept to explain the emergence of a social group in human society after the first industrial revolution. The emergence of middle class has exerted a profound impact on the political environment, labor market, and housing choices in a country or region, contributing to the urban social space reconstruction. The emergence of middle class also has resulted in gentrification, which has become an important phenomenon in a globalizing social-spatial context. Research on the middle class in Western countries has been closely associated with the changing concerns and paradigms in the literature. This paper reviews the research on the middle class in Western countries, which is divided into the following three periods: (1) the first period is before 1960. The research focused on the concept of the middle class, the spatial distribution of middle class communities, and middle class formation mechanism; (2) the second period is from the 1960s to the late 1980s. Studies focused on the middle class population and their choice of housing and gentrification; (3) the third period is since the 1990s. Subjects of studies are more diversified, focusing on redefining the middle class, reconsideration of the gentrification formation mechanism , the creative class, middle class communities and social spatial justice, consumer behavior, political role, and environmental awareness. The emergence of middle class in China is closely associated with the economic transition in China since the reform and the opening to the outside world in 1978. The establishment of market system, high-speed economic growth and urbanization, industrial restructuring, and the development of higher education have prompted the development of middle class in China. Studies done by researchers in China can be divided into two different stages: (1) before 2000, the research focused on introducing the concept and theories related to middle class in China; (2) after 2000, the middle class population has experienced a rapid increase in China, which has been attracting increasingly more attention from scholars. The research focuses on the definition of middle class in the context of the Chinese society, the formation mechanism of the middle class, and the gentrification in China. Compared with the research on middle class in Western countries, the study of middle class in China started later, and still does not address many relevant issues in sufficient details. There is a lack of systematic analysis of middle class in China, as well as unaddressed theoretical and methodological issues. Given the fact that middle class in China has been experiencing a dramatic growth, as was in other western countries a few decades ago, the research on middle class in China should better integrate western theories, and should also pay much more attention to the formation of middle class, the characteristics of middle class population and their living spaces, consumer behavior, community, gentrification, and stratification in the Chinese society.

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    A comparative research on local construction of space of nostalgia and consumption: a case study of nostalgic restaurants in Guangzhou
    Fan LI, Rong YANG, Liping HUANG
    PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY    2015, 34 (4): 505-516.   DOI: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2015.04.012
    Abstract1359)   HTML3)    PDF (9251KB)(1132)      

    The fashion of urban nostalgic consumption has penetrated into many a field of the socio-cultural life. A great number of nostalgic restaurants have emerged out of the trend, producing urban nostalgia-themed special spaces of consumption and culture. With the interplay between global and local consumptive cultures, the form of local cultures has been constantly changing. As a result of this change, it becomes more urgent to explore the differences existing in the local construction of various spaces of nostalgic consumption. This research selected two distinctive local restaurants, Tai Ping Koon Restaurant and Brothers Nostalgic Café, as objects for the case study. Based on qualitative research methods including participant observation, in-depth interview, questionnaire survey, and text analysis with a collection of media reports and internet discussion data, this article analyzes the local construction of nostalgic restaurants and place identity from the dimensions of material and emotional spaces. The findings include: (1) Through the presentation and performance of memory, either the re-making of traditions under the gaze of memory (the case of Tai Ping Koon Restaurant) or the traditional re-making under the orientation of nostalgic consumption (the case of Brothers Nostalgic Café) should be seen as constructed forms of the materialized space of consumption in view of adapting to the prevalence of global culture. This, to some extent, feeds back into Zukin's view about restaurant as an integration of globalization and localization. (2) It is the consumers who have shaped the emotional spaces for place of nostalgia and made sense of place identity. As constructed "imagined place," spaces of nostalgic consumption are different from the "authentic place" and the construction of emotional spaces for both of them also varies, being influenced to a great extent by factors such as place embeddedness. (3) The evolvement of spaces of nostalgic consumption is under the influence of the dynamics of the locality, the marketing mechanism, as well as postmodernist consumptive patterns. The extent of place embeddedness determines how spaces of nostalgic consumption evolve and will be located. The deeper the locality embedded, the better the local constructions of material and emotional spaces integrate (the case of Tai Ping Koon Restaurant). However, under the influence of postmodernist consumptive patterns and the marketing mechanism, the evolvement of simulated spaces of nostalgic consumption becomes undetermined due to the lack of local authenticity. This research is instrumental in strengthening the interpretation of the local construction of spaces of nostalgic consumption from the perspective of new cultural geographical studies and also provides a useful reference for advising on the production and practices of spaces of nostalgic consumption for cities undergoing dramatic urban regenerations at present.

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