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Trust in Water: An Institutional Analysis of China's Urban Tap Water Provision System

Zhang, Xiaoyang (2017) Trust in Water: An Institutional Analysis of China's Urban Tap Water Provision System. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

This thesis presents a comprehensive institutional analysis of China’s urban tap water provision system from a ‘source to sip’ holistic research perspective. With the examination of each agent’s function in the system, this thesis coins the concepts of semi-potable tap water and Hybrid Institutional Architecture to illustrate the essence of China’s urban water provision system as a ‘source to consumer’ semi-potable tap water provision system. Based on this argument, the concept of Consumer Coping Strategy Matrix is established with analyses of its seven facilitating factors to explain Chinese tap water consumers’ involvement in the potable water production. Their activities have established a ‘consumer to sip’ potable water production process, functioning as a compensation to ‘source to consumer’ urban semi-potable tap water provision system. The combination of these two systems is a ‘source to sip’ urban potable tap water provision system. This thesis also provides a detailed analysis of the three institutional inconsistencies in this system, arguing that they have filled the Hybrid Institutional Architecture with internal inconsistencies, which makes semi-potable tap water an inevitable outcome of Hybrid Institutional Architecture. Meanwhile, this thesis illustrates the concept of Consumer’s Normalisation to semi-potable tap water, the Hybrid Institutional Architecture and Consumer Coping Strategy Matrix, arguing that such normalisation has disguises and justified not only the existence of the aforementioned concepts, but also the existence of the latent social injustice and consumer’s powerlessness. All of these analyses contribute to the form of consumer’s institutional distrust in semi-potable tap water. With this institutionalised distrust, an imbalanced dialectical relationship between the Hybrid Institutional Architecture, the Consumer Coping Strategy Matrix and water crises will turn consumer into the trigger of sociogenic water sustainability crises. A detailed case study of Harbin is presented to demonstrate the two sociogenic water sustainability crises occurred in Harbin with archival data and the establishments of contingent combination model, and the Hybrid Institutional Architecture of Harbin’s urban tap water provision system with examining interview materials from four senior officials of key departments.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: China, Tap Water, Trust, Sustainable Development, Consumer
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Xiaoyang Zhang
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2017 13:33
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2017 13:33
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/20820

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