Between authoritarian governance and urban citizenship: tree-felling protests in Hanoi

John Gillespie, Quang Hung Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Little is known about how claims for urban citizenship in transitional states influence urban governance. Advancing the literature, this article draws on empirical research about a tree-felling dispute in Hanoi. It argues that social media are transforming how citizens project power over city officials. Interviews showed how a combination of street protests and criticism on social media disrupted state expectations about how citizens should behave. This opened political space that enabled citizens to voice their concerns. Although officials reacted emotionally to moral coercion, they refused to engage with deliberative claims for urban citizenship and the right to participate in governance. The article concludes that social media provide a space where urban citizenship can evolve, disseminate and eventually influence the state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)977-991
Number of pages15
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • cities
  • discourse
  • governance
  • protest
  • social media
  • Vietnam

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