Tropical Geography ›› 2021, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (3): 472-484.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003343

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The Spatial Experience of Gentrification-Displacement in Xiahao District, Chongqing, China

Yi Xua(), Su Liua,b()   

  1. a.School of Geographical Sciences, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
    b.Institute of Western Marxism, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
  • Received:2020-09-03 Revised:2020-11-03 Online:2021-05-30 Published:2021-06-24
  • Contact: Su Liu;


With the transformation from a focus on material spaces to spatial experiences within the field of gentrification-displacement, the lifeworld constituted by daily experiences was the fundamental starting point of this study. Daily experiences as such do not only refer to unconscious universal experiences but also contingent ones, so that the lifeworld at issue is a field of care as well as a field of suffering simultaneously, within which both rootedness and rootlessness are concerned. Therefore, the field of displacement integrates into the frame of Lefebvre's spatial triad in such a way that the lifeworld at issue is manifested as representational space and spatial practice. The lifeworld, as a pivotal concept of phenomenology, as well as the spatial triad can both be seen to merge into the field of displacement and further induce the transformation of the focus from direct displacement to indirect displacement, which regards daily experiences as its base. Meanwhile, a qualitative analysis of local symbols, within which local agencies act and react, has been adopted in this study field as an effective spatial practice in the production of representational space. Representational space as one side of the spatial triad tends to be regarded as the opposite side of spatial representation, in many cases, and both are linked by spatial practice. Within the frame of spatial triad, this study mainly concerns the experiences of lifeworld stemming from gentrification-displacement which is regarded as the representational space represented through the locals' practice. Based on the theoretical context in question, the authors conducted an investigation of gentrification-displacement experiences in the Xiahao community of Nan'An District of Chongqing, which is a very typical historical and cultural district confronting displacement by tourism gentrification. In addition, another item by Lefebvre, "social space," was also included in this study to place a stronger emphasis on hierarchical social groups catering for this case study on recognition, action, and emotion at a local level. The findings of this study included two main aspects. First, the displacement experiences were demonstrated by distinguishing the features within three main social groups: residents, migrants, and tourists. (1) Residents' experiences comprised the loss of memories related to their own families' life history in the long term as well as the disappearance of the routine of intimate interpersonal relationships in the neighborhood. (2) The displacement experiences of migrants were manifested as the loss of a free lifestyle that was far removed from the lifestyle of metropolises. (3) The displacement experiences of tourists were illustrated as the loss of an authentic place where these people could conduct their own authentic experiences based on nostalgia. Second, within the process of gentrification-induced displacement, migrants' cultural and commercial activities played an important role in bridging the gap between the inside authentic space and the outside commercial space, thereby provoking the arrival of numerous tourists in the community, resulting in long-term indirect displacement. Along with the prominent activities of migrants, an outside capital logic was thereafter involved in this community, leading to a completely irreversible transformation as a commercialized space.

Key words: gentrification, displacement, phenomenology, Lefebvre, representational space, Chongqing

CLC Number: 

  • TU984.114