Actor perspectives and tourism policy networks in Hangzhou, China.

WANG, Yi. (2008). Actor perspectives and tourism policy networks in Hangzhou, China. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

This study examines the patterns and processes of policy making involved in tourism development and management for the major tourism city of Hangzhou in China. It is considered that these policy-making features are the result of dialectical interactions between structure and agency. More specifically, the social actions involved in policy making are regarded as the consequence of the dialectical interplay between the knowledgeable behaviour or agency of varied actors and their structural contexts. The dynamics of the tourism policy-making processes are examined through a relational approach that combines an actor-oriented perspective on social change with the analysis of policy networks. Three conceptual frameworks - at the macro-, micro- and also meso-scales - are developed in the study in order to understand the co-evolution of structure and agency within the tourism policy-making processes. The macro-scale focuses on the "external" environments that affect actors' perspectives and the policy making processes, the micro-scale explores the regular practices and experiences of actors, and the meso-scale relates to the dynamics of the policy networks that result from interplay between the macro- and micro-scale processes. The varied actors affected by tourism policies engage in social interactions, draw on their differing interests, express views based on differing discourses and knowledge frameworks, and engage in conflicts and compromises based on their power configurations, and from these processes emerge various policy outcomes. These actors are strongly affected by structural constraints in the policy environment, but they also have involvements in actively constructing that environment.These frameworks are applied to assessments of tourism policy processes in Hangzhou. This city was chosen as a case study because it is in the vanguard of steps taken by the national government to encourage greater decentralization of governance in China and because of the importance of tourism for the local economy. Two stages of fieldwork were conducted in the city, both involving semi-structured, in-depth interviews with actors with an interest in tourism policy making. They explored the involvement of these actors in the policy processes, their interests and relations with other policy actors, and their influence on policy outcomes. The second fieldwork stage focused on understanding these processes for a specific tourism project in a heritage district of the city, this being the West Lake Protection Project.It was found that there was considerable continuity in the actors most involved in tourism policy-making for the city as a whole and for the West Lake Protection Project. While Hangzhou had gained considerable tourism decision-making powers from central government, the extent of decentralized decision-making within the city itself was still very limited. The influence of the Communist Party was still notable, there was only a very small involvement by the private sector in policy activity and local communities had only limited influence on decisions affecting their lives. When there were conflicts between environmental and development issues the most influential actors favoured economic development. The overall analysis illustrated the potential value of a relational or dialectical perspective on agency and structure for assessments of tourism policy relations and networks.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis (Ph.D.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 2008.
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:22
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2018 17:22
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/20496

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