The aesthetic scene: A critique of the creative economy in urban China

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5 Scopus citations


As a useful tool for studying urban lives, the scene is irreducible to economic experience and contains an aesthetic dimension of critical understanding. This article engages the scholarship on the creative city/economy and seeks to expand the critique of the creative city/economy through an articulation of an aesthetic theory of the urban scene. It proposes three kinds of scenes (creative, mediated, and aesthetic) to examine ways in which new urban forms and spaces are created to address both local and global issues of the creative economy. This is illustrated by focusing on how newly developed creative zones or spaces in Chinese cities like Chengdu (a model creative city in China) negotiate the meanings of existing urban spaces and displace spatial relations reminiscent of socialist legacies (e.g., modes of living standardized by the socialist state) through the production of a particular set of norms and values about the “Chinese dream” situated in the global creative economy. Ultimately, the article argues that it is only at the level of the aesthetic that we may speak of the scene’s multiplicity, alterity, and potentiality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)960-974
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Urban Affairs
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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