Between Authoritarian Governance and Urban Citizenship: Tree-Felling Protests in Hanoi
Urban Studies 2018; DOI: 10.1177/004209801878486
25 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2018
Date Written: October 29, 2018
Little is known about how claims for urban citizenship in transitional states influence urban governance. Advancing the literature, this article draws on empirical research about a tree-felling dispute in Hanoi. It argues that social media is transforming how citizens project power over city officials. Interviews showed how a combination of street protests and criticism on social media disrupted state expectations about how citizens should behave. This opened political space that enabled citizens to voice their concerns. Although officials reacted emotionally to moral coercion, they refused to engage with deliberative claims for urban citizenship and right to participate in governance. The article concludes that social media provides a space where urban citizenship can evolve, disseminate and eventually influence the state.
Keywords: Regulation, environment, governance, social media, Vietnam, protest, discourse
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