Event — Conference

China’s Agricultural Transition: Balancing Rural-Urban Relations

European Conference on Agriculture and Rural Development in China (ECARDC VIII)

 Thursday 31 August to Saturday 2 September 2006
Yiwu City, Zhejiang Province, China

Rural Development Institute (RDI)
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS)

The European Conference on Agriculture and Rural Development in China (ECARDC) enters its 17th year of existence. With over 80 members from China, the various European Union member states, the US and other countries, ECARDC can rightfully be termed a lively academic networking community. Successful and well-attended ECARDC conferences have been held in Aarhus (Denmark), Leiden (The Netherlands), Manchester (UK), Paris (France), Giessen (Germany), and Greenwich (UK). However, after all these years ECARDC has not been hosted in China yet. For this reason, the ECARDC Steering Committee is happy to announce that the renowned Rural Development Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) will organise the 8th ECARDC gathering in the bustling city of Yiwu in Zhejiang Province. We hope to welcome all of you in Yiwu City on 31 August 2006!

On behalf of the ECARDC Steering Committee

Prof. Peter Ho
ECARDC Secretariat
Centre for Development Studies (CDS)
University of Groningen
PO Box 800, 9700 AV, Groningen
The Netherlands

Conference Theme
At present, China is undergoing one of the world's largest and most fundamental transformations of a formerly traditional, rural society to a rapidly industrializing urban society. The tremendous economic development of the past years has profoundly changed China's appearance, and many foreign observers are increasingly turning their attention to China's urban centers: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing... However, especially at this point in time it is important to view China's development in a wider perspective: the rural-urban transition. It is against this backdrop, that ECARDC VIII has launched the conference theme - "China's agricultural transition: balancing rural-urban relations".
During the past decades, it has become painfully clear that China's transition from a rural to an urban society is not without problems: large-scale migration of rural workers to the cities, social tensions in the rural-urban fringe, the urban sprawl and forced evictions of farmers from their land, while rural industrialization has led to a sharp rise in air, water and soil pollution. The issue that confronts the Chinese government is how to effect a sustainable transition of China's rural society to an increasingly marketized, and industrialized urban society. This raises fundamental questions of shifts in governance styles, institutional design, citizenship and identity, and economic restructuring.

Within China scholars have discussed these issues in terms of shaping the New Countryside (xin nongcun), which should cater for and safeguard farmers' San Sheng or shengchan, shenghuo and shengtai (in other words, farmer's production; livelihood; and ecology). Against this backdrop, ECARDC invites senior and junior scholars, as well as representatives from NGOs and donor agencies, to attend and present their latest research and insights.

It is possible to present an individual paper, or to propose a joint panel with several participants. ECARDC welcomes any paper or panel proposal that touches on the theme of ECARDC VIII: China's agricultural transition. This may relate to rural governance and democracy, environmental policy and natural resource management, problems of the rural poor and landlessness, and even due to the rural-urban migration - the rise of the urban poor. For a format for the paper and panel proposal, see www.ecardc.org.

On-line pre-registration
It is expected that many people from the academia and donor agencies will participate. We therefore kindly ask you to pre-register and send in an abstract no later than 15 May 2006, so that we know how many participants to expect and can make our preparations accordingly. For the pre-registration go to www.ecardc.org, fill out the on-line form, and send it back to us by e-mail. On the basis of the quality and innovative character of the pre-registration and abstract, the Rural Development Institute will make a selection of paper presenters.

Registration and costs
The registration fee will be 100 US$ per person (approx. RMB 600) and includes hotel costs, lunches, dinners, and local transportation to and from the conference site. Unfortunately, funds for ECARDC are limited. As in the past, participants are expected to cover their expenses for international travel out of their private or institutional funds.

Deadline for the papers
The ultimate deadline for the papers is 31 July 2006. Those who cannot meet this deadline are kindly asked to bring sufficient copies of their paper to distribute to the other participants at the conference.

ECARDC VIII aims to publish a selection of high-quality revised papers as an edited volume or special journal issue. Former conferences have resulted in several edited volumes of selected papers that were well-received in scholarly circles:

Peter Ho, Jacob Eyferth, and Eduard B. Vermeer (eds.)
Rural Development in Transitional China: The New Agriculture, (London: Frank Cass Publications, 2004)
Flemming Christiansen and Junzuo Zhang (ed.)
Village Inc.: Chinese Rural Society in the 1990s, (London, Curzon Press, 1998)
Eduard B. Vermeer (ed.)
From Peasant to Entrepeneur: Growth and Change in Rural China, (Wageningen, Pudoc, 1992)
Jørgen Delman, Clemens S. Østergaard and Flemming Christiansen (eds.)
Remaking Peasant China, (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 1990)

ECARDC (the European Conference on Agriculture and Rural Development in China) was set up as an academic network to provide a forum to meet, discuss and share information and experiences about China's agricultural and rural development among scholars, development agencies, international donors, and professionals in development aid. ECARDC aims to be multi-disciplinary and bring together those with a background or interest in sociology, anthropology, political science, economics, geography and modern China studies.

For these purposes ECARDC organises bi-annual international conferences. In addition, there is an ECARDC mailing list that regularly provides news to members on seminars, vacancies, scholarships, projects, etc. Lastly, most ECARDC conferences have resulted in the publication of an edited volume of selected papers, or a special journal issue.

Membership and mailing list
You can become member of ECARDC by mailing to "info@ecardc.org", your name will then be included in the mailing list, after which you will be automatically updated with the latest news on ECARDC activities and the bi-annual conferences. If you have news that you would like to distribute to other ECARDC members, you can mail to the address above, and your message will be forwarded. At present ECARDC counts over 80 members from the various member states of the European Union, China and other countries including the United States.

NOTE: Please do NOT mail any correspondence about ECARDC VIII to the ECARDC Secretariat. For contact details about ECARDC VIII see www.ecardc.org.

Support and funding
ECARDC is supported by the International Institute of Asian Studies (IIAS) of Leiden University.