Speaker: Dr Lars Laamann
Westminster Forum, University of Westminster, 32/38 Wells Street, London W1T 3UW
Poverty alleviation by means of proactive social housing policies constitutes one of the pillars of the European welfare state, established in the aftermath of the Great Depression and the Second World War. This study extends our insight into the ideological purposes of state-funded public housing programmes by focusing on their socio-political role in China during the 1950s and 1960s. Against the background of socialist state building, the intellectual concepts, organisational challenges, as well as the political and economic problems of this unparalleled building project are being scrutinised, with the Haidian area in north-western Beijing as the prime historical example. Importantly, the international dimension of 'housing socialism' will be explored, be it through direct cooperation with non-Chinese stakeholders (initially mostly Soviet) or by the application of 'modern' architectural and social policies being implemented in the universal building site which much of the world had become after the Second World War. 
Dr Laamann is lecturer in the history of China at the School of Oriental & African Studies (University of London), his research experience is focused on medicine and healing, popular religions and social change during the mid-and late Qing, as well as during the Republican period. The present paper represents a logical extension of the latter into the early People's Republic.
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