Based on my long-term ethnographic research in the traditional alleyway neighborhoods in Shanghai, known as lilong (“li” meaning neighborhood and “long” meaning lane), I discuss “popular stories” surrounding their existence. As a legacy of the city’s treaty port era (1842-1932), the lilong houses and neighborhoods are to Shanghai more than just a physical structure, but also a distinct cultural relic. I focus on the “moral responsibility” to live a life that aligns with one’s narrative of historic preservation. I demonstrate how the forces of globalization play a major role in the changing sociopolitical landscape of life in lilong neighborhoods. We could better understand those forces by placing them in the context of morality. I here reveal three major themes: the discourse around the ideas of “authentic Shanghai life,” the perceptions of lilong neighborhoods in relation to the political economy of heritage brought about by the popular knowledge about Shanghai, and how architecture tells its stories of the city and cultures.
"Moral Global Storytelling: Reflections on Place and Space in Shanghai’s Urban Neighborhoods,"
Storytelling, Self, Society:
3, Article 3.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/storytelling/vol8/iss3/3