Political and Social Implications of Disruptive Innovation in China: the case of E-Mobility
Annual Conference of Association of American Geographers
Estados Unidos da América
In little more than 3 decades, China has gone from a society dominated by bicycles to the largest car market in the world. As automobility continues to expand rapidly across this country, emergence of an alternative socio-technical system of urban mobility is a matter of exceptional importance, both to China and the rest of the world (Tyfield, 2013). The changes in urban mobility and growth of car-based mobility in China have brought serious concerns about the effects on the quality of the urban environment and on the society in general (Urry, 2013). There are numerous concerns for the cities as they are being redesigned around the car system and thus being “dehumanized”, for health and safety in the city, for non-car drivers with some of the highest death tolls on the roads and growing obesity among car-driving men. The paper asks in particular how thinking about low-carbon transition in entirely different socio-economic, political and cultural context forces a confrontation with some key challenges for contemporary theories of low-carbon innovation and system transition. This highlights how analyses of the future of the 'car' and in an emerging set of social practices related to the use of electric vehicles in China provide a window into inter-related issues of political empowerment, conspicuous consumption, technological adoption and alternative mobilities. The paper examines the potential political and social implications of Chinese innovation in low-carbon mobilities, regarding the possible construction of new powerful coalitions and the prospects for low-carbon system transition.
E-mobility, urban transportation, transition, China