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Landscapes of Little Lhasa: Materialities of the Vernacular, Political and Commercial in Urban China

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This article problematizes the juxtaposition of place and identity. By analyzing different dimensions of landscape, it asks how an ethnically diverse neighborhood in Chengdu, China, has become considered a Tibetan place. The article engages with and pushes John Brinckerhoff Jackson’s distinction between political and vernacular landscapes, introducing a third category: the commercial landscape. Each of these three dimensions of the landscape, which are deeply entangled but conceptually distinct, transforms multi-ethnic space into a Tibetan place. The vernacular emerges from the traces of quotidian life in the form of languages, bodily practices, sights, scents, and colors: it ‘feels’ Tibetan. The political relates to the securitization of Tibetan spaces and how people re-imagine the traces of state-led spatial management and organization. Finally, the commercial has to do with the appropriation of Tibetan aesthetics in the pursuit of profiting from a Tibetan Buddhist identity. I argue that these three different landscapes are what enable us to recognize a multi-ethnic space as a Tibetan place.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftGeoforum
Vol/bind107
Udgave nummerDecember
Sider (fra-til)24-33
ISSN0016-7185
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2 nov. 2019

ID: 229730696