1Regionalization – the delineation of a space into regions – is one of the primary fields of study in geography. The choice of methods usually depends on the branch of geography, phenomena studied, and analysis goals. Regionalization is determined through statistical or cartographic procedures using quantitative or qualitative data. Usually, regionalization is carried out within the framework of a particular branch of geography, for example, economic regions or agricultural regions.
2This article develops a method of regionalization at the intersection of cultural and economic geography, using a combination of qualitative and quantitative data. It introduces the notion of the economic and cultural complex (ECC), as a unit of economic and cultural differentiation of population, and presents a formalized method for identification of these complexes. The paper also provides a detailed econo-cultural study and regionalization of China, carried out with the help of the developed method.
3The article is organized as follows. First, a definition of ECC is provided along with its main attributes. Then, the paper outlines the data used, sources, and the regionalization procedure. The ensuing discussion of the results includes a brief description of ECCs and their types, and a comparison of China’s ECCs with other regionalizations of China. The conclusion summarizes the main points, mentions method limitations and possible future developments.
4An economic and cultural complex (ECC) is a part of the population with a system of particular economic and cultural features created by the links between a territory’s economy and culture. Cultural inertia keeps this system of features stable, and economic development drives the system dynamics. Here, economy is understood as the sum of fixed assets, technologies, production relations, and the organization of production that is used for maintaining the physical existence of individual and society. Culture incorporates knowledge, beliefs, customs, value systems and their material manifestation which makes the individual a member of a specific society. The intangible part of culture is referred to below as spiritual culture; its physical manifestation is referred to as material culture.
5An ECC is characterized by three main properties:
Homogeneity of material and spiritual culture among the population of a territory (or regular alteration of the limited number of groups of people with different cultures).
Homogeneity of economic characteristics (or regular alteration of groups of people with different characteristics of economy).
Closer relationships between the economy and culture of population of an area than between economy and culture of population of this area and other areas.
Figure 1: Economic and Cultural Complex Formation Scheme
6The main components of an ECC are the organization of the economy and fixed assets as parts of the economy, and material and spiritual culture as parts of a culture (shown at the center of Figure 1). The formation of the ECC is a result of their interaction.
7Spiritual culture influences economic organization in three directions. First, customs, religion, habits and rules of communication affect working relations and production organization. Second, the level of social development and population creative potential both condition the ability to accept and create new technologies. For example, the values systems of Japanese and Korean societies allowed Japanese and South Korean economic success in the 20th century. Third, spiritual culture influences an industrial structure. For example, cheese was not common in Chinese cuisine, so the cheese-making industry appeared in China only recently and manufacturing is based on foreign recipes. Another example exists in Russia where the manufacture of orthodox churchware appeared alongside spiritual culture.
8The evolution of economic organization driven by scientific and technological progress, and by the introduction of new technologies, encourages changes in customs and traditions in favor of those which are more appropriate, under the new development level of productive forces. For example, the need for qualified personnel leads to longer education periods and changes in economic organization has helped to change women’s role in the family and society.
9The relationship between spiritual culture and fixed assets is less obvious. Culture, with its traditions, religion, and dominating art style, manifests itself in the appearance of industrial buildings, and in the types of equipment and buildings used.
10However, fixed assets influence spiritual culture as well: industrial design art, and factories and plants, appear in cinema, photography and graphics.
11Economic organization, namely technology, changes the materials, forms and creation techniques used in objects of material culture. In turn, habitual forms of material culture objects (architecture, apparel, national cuisine etc.) influence mass demand and the industrial structure. For example, spoons are produced from stainless steel instead of wood; traditional Russian stoves are replaced by electrical or gas ovens; in China, in an electric appliance store, one can find special devices for preparing soymilk which are unknown in Russia; traditional-cut clothes are produced using synthetic fabric.
12Fixed assets can become material culture objects themselves. For example, abandoned factories are used by the entertainment industry, and out-dated equipment may be displayed in museums. On the other hand, recreation and entertainment objects used for profit (water parks, amusement parks, thematic parks etc.) are not only cultural objects, but also economic assets.
13 Further on, an ECC and its main components evolve under the direct and indirect influence of external factors (Figure 1).
14The four groups underpinning an ECC’s evolution are: physico-geographical conditions, scientific and technological progress, cross-cultural interaction, and social and economic factors. These factors can have a direct or indirect influence. Main direct external factors are shown within the large box in Figure 1; indirect external factors are indicated outside the box.
15The first group - landscape and resources - influences economic and material culture and this influence is reflected in areas such as industrial structure, agricultural specialization and diet, materials used and the planning of buildings, as well as in clothing.
16The second group of factors - scientific and technological progress - fosters production modernization, the appearance of new products, speeds up the diffusion of innovations, and thus changes the organization of the economy which, in turn, influences fixed assets and material and spiritual culture.
17The third group of factors - inter-ethnic relations and the influence of dominating ethnic group - both cause dynamics in all four components of the ECC. In this study, inter-ethnic relations refer to mutual influence, interactions and intercommunications between the ethnic groups within an ECC and, more broadly, within the specific region and country. The dominating ethnic group is the most numerous and/or the most culturally or economically influential group in the country. The differences in intensity of this influence and the response to it underpin the diversity of the ECCs.
18The fourth group of factors are urbanization and the spatial division of labor. Urbanization creates substantial qualitative changes in spiritual and material culture and influences the other components of an ECC. The spatial division of labor determines the economy of an ECC. The deeper an ECC’s participation in the labor division within the country, the more state-of-art the technologies and organization of the economy, and the more intensively they influence material and then spiritual culture.
19Indirect factors in ECC evolution are the second-order factors that influence the direct ones; their changes are reflected by several or all of the direct factors in the evolution. Demographics have a significant impact on inter-ethnic relations and the influence of a dominating ethnic group. The state of the environment or ecological factors affects the organization of the economy and material culture through all the other factors. The effects of globalization on ECCs are reflected across all the factors, mainly in cross-cultural interaction. The dominating ethnic group is the first to receive the influence of globalization, then this ethnic group translates the influence of globalization to the other ethnic groups in an ECC.
20The three main properties of an ECC require homogeneity or regular alteration of characteristics and closer ties within the complex than between the economy and culture of the complex with the other territories. This is determined not only by the present factors of an ECC development but the history as well. An appropriate way to take into account the historical basis of an ECC formation is provided by the theory of economic and cultural types developed in Russian (and former Soviet) ethnography (Cheboksarov N.N., Levin M.G., 1955; Adrianov B.V., Cheboksarov N.N., 1972; Adrianov B.V., Markov G.E.,1990). Economic and cultural type is “a complex of economic and cultural features developed by different ethnic groups with the same level of socio-economic development and similar landscape conditions” (Its, 1991, p. 57). There are three economic and cultural types: first, hunting, gathering and fishing; second, land cultivation with hand tools, including the use of the hoe, animal husbandry, and nomadic pastoralism; third, more sophisticated plough-based land cultivation. There are also subtypes based on special traits caused by specific landscapes, for example, occupations, food, clothing and dwellings. The three types are used to describe ethnic groups and societies before they moved to the industrial production. North America was the first region where economic and cultural types disappeared in the 17th century, and Asia and Oceania were the last with economic and cultural types surviving there until the first half of the 19th century (Its, 1991, p. 100).
21 In contrast, an ECC analysis is applicable to modern societies, where divergences in types of economy and lifestyle between groups of people are entirely different to those seen up to the 17th-19th centuries. Nowadays, economic and cultural types do not exist except among the remote tribes and the character of econo-cultural differentiation in societies is different. From the point of view of the theory of economic and cultural types, presently, the whole of China belongs to one and the same region of industrial production. However, this is not an obstacle for the usage of the past economic and cultural types of a specific region as one of the attributes for identification of its present ECC.
22Based on the ECC definition and factors of ECC evolution, the criteria for identification of ECCs within a given territory and population are:
The same modernization level of economic organization and fixed assets over the ECC’s territory. Here, the modernization level is the level of integration of modern methods into economic organization and the level of usage of the latest scientific and technological solutions in manufacturing activities. The criteria can be measured, for example, by the share of enterprises using automation of business processes, the share of enterprises using an automated production line, per capita GDP, the regional GDP structure, the share of new industries in GDP, the industrial/agricultural outputs value ratio and so on. In this study, per capita GDP value for Chinese regions was chosen as a main generalized indicator.
The same transformation level of material and spiritual culture under the influence of the dominating ethnic group. This transformation level can be measured by the proportion of the dominating ethnic group in the population. The dominating ethnic group in China is Han (90.6%), other ethnic groups are referred to in this article as non-Han. The term “minority” was not used, as their total number is significant, for example, the Zhuang-speaking population (Zhuang form the most numerous non-Han population) was reported to be close to 17 million people in 2005 (Xinhuawang, 2005).
Homogeneity of the ethnic composition of an ECC’s population.
The same historical foundation. In this analysis the criterion is interpreted as an ECC’s population groups belonging to the same or similar economic and cultural types (ECT) in the past.
Prevalence of one religion among the ECC’s population. Religion creates a strong imprint on lifestyle and customs that can remain even if the number of believers drops. As regional statistics for this parameter in China are inaccessible, the presence of different religions in the regions of China was estimated via historical ethnographic information and represented by indicator parameters.
Uniformity of landscape conditions.
23These criteria are used in the following for the identification of the ECCs in China. The following section describes the identification and regionalization method.
24The identification of economic and cultural complexes contains three stages: 1) cartographic regionalization, 2) statistical cluster analysis and, 3) harmonization of the results to obtain a reliable regionalization. The goal of the cartographic regionalization stage was to identify and map the economic and cultural types of population in China, different religions’ prevalence, and to obtain a preliminary cartographic scheme of the ECCs. This required compilation of supporting schematic maps detailing: ethnic groups, different religions’ prevalence, vegetation types, agricultural regions and cartograms: non-Han population share, GDP per capita in the provinces and autonomous prefectures. These maps were specifically made for the purpose of the study, each of them contains the list of sources used.
Figure 2:Ethnic Map of China.
Sources: Atlas of China (2006), Geographicheskii Atlas (Geographical Atlas (1980)), Guizhou Sheng Shaoshu Minzu Fenbu Luetu (Chugao) (Distribution of Ethnic Minorities in Guizhou (Draft), 1956-1958), Hanizu Fangyan Fenbutu (Hani Language Dialects Distribution (1956-1958)), Hanizu Sange Fanyan Qujietu (Map of Three Dialects of Hani (1956-1958)), Karta Narodov Kitaya, MNR i Korei (Ethnic Map of China, MNR and Korea (1959)), LeBar, Frank M. Gerald C. Hickey, and John K. Musgrave (1964), Yunnan Lisuzu Fenbu Quyu Tu (Map of Distribution of Lisu in Yunnan Province (1953)), Yunnan Sheng Kawayu Fangyan Fenbutu (Kawa Language Dialects In Yunnan Province (1956-1958)), Yunan Sheng Lahuzu Liang Zhi Xi De Fenbu Quyu (Map of Distribution of Two Kinds of Lahu In Yunnan Province (1956-1958)).
Sources: Narody Vostochnoi Asii (Ethnic Groups of East Asia (1965)), Zhongguo Minsu Dili (Folklore Geography of China (1999)), Zhongguo Dili (Geography of China (2002)).
Figure 4: Agriculture Regions in China
Sources: Geographicheskii Atlas (Geographical Atlas (1980)), Liu Sh. (1957), Zhongguo Dili (Geography of China (2002)), Vegetation Map of China (2000).
Figure 5: Economic and Cultural Types of China’s Ethnic Groups
25Firstly, economic and cultural types were identified with the help of cartographic regionalization on the basis of maps detailing ethnic groups (Figure 2), religions (Figure 3), vegetation types and agricultural (Figure 4) one, and ethnographic materials (Bruk, C.I. et al., 1965). These maps were overlaid to obtain the resulting regions, the borders and the characteristics of which were determined more precise on the basis of the ethnographic materials. The identified economic and cultural types, and their characteristics, are presented in Figure 5 and its accompanying legend. The purpose of this step was to identify the historical base of the ECC formation, thus this map (Figure 5) reflects the situation of the mid-20th century. The types identified serve as an attribute in the clustering procedure at the second stage.
26Next, in order to compile the preliminary scheme of economic and cultural complexes, the map of economic and cultural types was juxtaposed over cartograms detailing the proportion of the non-Han population and per capita GDP in the provinces and autonomous prefectures of China (Figures 6, 7). The cartographic stage produced 18 ECCs and 4 limitrophe zones.
27During the second stage, the economic and cultural complexes were identified through carrying out a statistical clustering procedure run over the administrative units of China: provinces (22), municipalities (4), autonomous regions (5) and autonomous prefectures (30). Taiwan Province was covered under this study. The data values for provinces and autonomous regions were cleaned of the data values for the autonomous prefectures located inside them, to avoid double accounting.
28The quantitative attributes of administrative units used for clustering were: 1) the proportion of non-Han population in %, 2) GDP per capita in yuan, 3) industrial and agricultural outputs value ratio, 4) population density in people per square kilometre, and 5) the share of urban population in %. All attributes were calculated as of 2004. Religions and economic and cultural types (Figures 3, 5) of administrative units were represented as qualitative binary attributes, with a value 1 if a unit has the corresponding religion / type and 0 otherwise. The regional adjacency of provinces and autonomous prefectures was accounted for in the form of an adjacency matrix with values 1/0 for “adjacent”/ “non-adjacent”.
Figure 6: Share of non-Han Population in Provinces and Autonomous Prefectures of China
Borders of the provinces, municipalities are black, borders of the autonomous regions, autonomous prefectures are brown.
Source: China’s Ethnic Statistical Yearbook 2005, China Statistical Yearbook 2005.
Figure 7: Per capita GDP in Provinces and Autonomous Prefectures of China
Borders of the provinces, municipalities are black, borders of the autonomous regions, autonomous prefectures are brown.
Source: China’s Ethnic Statistical Yearbook 2005, China Statistical Yearbook 2005.
29Statistical data for units was taken from the China Statistical Yearbook 2005, China Ethnic Statistical Yearbook 2005, from the website of the National Bureau of Statistics of China (Fifth National Census Data, Reports on Provinces’ Economic and Social Development in 2004, Reports on Provinces’ Population Sample Survey in 2005), websites of the provinces and autonomous prefectures’ statistical bureaus or governments. Qualitative data was gathered via ethnic maps and works (Bruk C.I., Cheboksarov N.N., 1965; Gao Z., ed., 1999), and complemented by the personal observations of the author in different parts of China.
30Data on the share of the non-Han population in 2004 does not cover all the provinces. Missing values were obtained based on data for 2000 and 2005 by linear approximation. For the provinces missing 2005 data, the share of the non-Han population in 2004 was estimated on the basis of older data and the average non-Han population growth rate.
31The proportion of the urban population in 2004 for most provinces was calculated based on 2004 population data, and for several others it was approximated using data from other years.
32Industrial/agricultural output ratios were calculated from the relevant data from the statistical yearbooks. Population density was calculated from the area data and 2004 population data.
33Before clustering, the data was pre-processed. First, to ensure their comparability, values for the quantitative attributes were normalized as
(Lagutin, 2007, p.289). Second, a few outliers were removed from the data based on the visual analysis of quantitative attributes’ paired scatter diagrams. The outliers - Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Haixi Autonomous Prefecture - were only removed from the clustering procedure, they were taken into account in later analysis.
34Next, the attributes were checked for correlation. Three attributes reflecting the level of economic development were correlated: share of urban population, GDP per capita and industrial and agricultural outputs value ratio. As this could increase the weight of the economic characteristics in cluster analysis, a similarity measure for clustering was chosen in order to avoid the influence of inadequate increase of economic parameters. Namely, dissimilarity of regions a and b is the maximum of differences among their attributes
35(Lagutin, 2007, p.290). A dissimilarity measure between clusters A and B of a given region was chosen as the “furthest neighbour” measure dAB = max a∊A,b∊B dab (Aivazian S.A., Mhitarian V.S., 2001, p.495). This assures that no clusters will be merged containing severely different regions and, thus, that the resulting ECCs are homogeneous.
36The conventional hierarchical tree clustering procedure (realized in MatLab®) was used for merging regions into clusters. During the first step, the procedure chooses two of the most similar regions and merges them into a group. In the next step, it again chooses the two most similar regions, or groups of regions, and merges them into a new group and so on.
37For regions, or groups of regions, to be merged, the following additional requirements should also be met:
1) Regions/groups to be merged should be spatially adjacent;
2) Regions/groups to be merged should have at least one common religion;
3) For two groups to be merged: each region within one group should, in the past, have had a common economic and cultural type with at least one region in the other group.
38The inclusion of the third requirement is very strict, and during some steps of the procedure there are no groups of regions which meet it, in which case the requirement is relaxed:
4) At least some of the regions of one group should, in the past, have had common economic and cultural types with some regions in the other group.
39As usual, the hierarchical clustering procedure goes on until the size of the groups is not too large and in this way, merging seems reasonable to the researcher. The clustering procedure provided 17 meaningful clusters of regions and 8 single units in China.
40During the last stage, the results of the two previous stages were harmonized in order to get a more accurate regionalization. Note also that borders of clusters obtained during the second stage coincide with administrative borders that do not necessarily reflect actual cultural ones.
41The harmonization of the results was made by comparing borders of cartographically obtained regions with cluster borders. In cases where questions remained, zones of attraction of main economic centers and population density were taken into consideration. These adjustments were particularly needed for the Xinjiang, Tibet, and Inner Mongolia Autonomous regions, and Qinghai Province. In Tibet, an aggregation of statistical data over the whole autonomous region hides significant differences inside it, additional analysis of economic and population statistical data for the different parts of the region verified its cartographic separation into 2 ECCs. In Inner Mongolia, a limitrophe zone indicated at cartographic step was appended to the Inner Mongolia ECC after cluster analysis.
42There appear to be 20 economic and cultural complexes, and two limitrophe zones in China (Figure 8). Limitrophes are the zones between the different groups of economic and cultural complexes. They include such a mix of areas with different levels of economic development and cultural characteristics that a complex cannot be formed.
43Number, configuration and geographical distribution of ECCs differ from those of economic and cultural types zones (Figures 5, 8). This stems from the definitions of the two notions, the ways these two regionalizations were obtained, the place economic and cultural types take in the ECCs identification procedure. Let us look deeper into these three points. First, economic and cultural types reflect differences in adaption to the landscapes of the human production activities that preceded industrial production. ECCs exist and evolve in industrial and post-industrial epochs. ECCs are subject to the influence of the spatial division of labor, the scientific and technological progress, the dominating ethnos and the other factors (Figure 1). These factors act, among other means, through the regional economic, demographic, ethnic policies, thus regional borders of the ECCs are closer to the administrative division than those of the economic and cultural types zones (another reason for this is of course association of the used statistical data with the administrative regions). Since ECCs are formed under a wider set of factors than economic and cultural types, they depend less on landscape and therefore some small economic and cultural types were fully incorporated in the closest ECC. For example, Dongbei types of nomadic reindeer breeding and forest hunting were absorbed by the North-East ECC, Southern China type of fishing-farmers was assimilated by the ECCs at the South-East. Second, the decision on which economic and cultural type an ethnic group belongs to is made on the basis of cartographic materials and ethnographic materials. While ECCs were obtained through a set of qualitative and quantitative attributes with the help of the statistical procedure. Finally, economic and cultural types were used as only one of the attributes in the ECCs identification procedure.
Figure 8: Economic and Cultural Complexes of China
44The ECCs in China fall into several types that characterize cultural, ethnic, and religious differences across the country. ECCs are united into a type if they are similar in terms of three criteria:
they have similar physico-geographical conditions that influence economic activity and way of life;
their economic and cultural types of population in the past were close or the same;
or they are close in terms of the populations’ ethnic, linguistic and religious compositions, as well as in traditions and customs.
45These criteria resemble the criteria for economic and cultural complexes without the requirement of having the same characteristics. There are four types of economic and cultural complexes in China (see legend to Figure 8). Below is a brief description of the ECCs (all the statistical data are from 2004). Han dialects are indicated according to Zhou, Chenhe, You, Rujie, 2006, p.319.
46The Economic and Cultural Complexes classified under China proper and Manchuria type occupy a vast territory at the central, coastal and north-eastern part of the country. These complexes are mostly Han-based, founded on a syncretic belief system, and the Eastern China plough-based land cultivation economic and cultural type (type I at Fig.5). The belief system includes animism, ancestor worship, Confucianism, Taoism and Mahayana Buddhism. Each component of this system is enriched by elements and mythology of the others; all together they constitute a spiritual environment in which all Hans ECCs exist and evolve. This environment manifests itself in the state holidays calendar, customs (for example, annual family gathering at the parents’ house for Lunar New Year), respect to educated people and education in general, obeidience towards the elderly and seniors, and strong community relationships maintained by natives of one region moved to other places or abroad. The latter assured significant inflow of foreign direct investments in China in the reform period. These traditions and customs started to fade, especially in cities. That shows the second common feature of these ECCs: a significant change in the way of life and the whole spiritual culture as a result of urbanization, globalization and, more precisely, westernization. These ECCs are the centre from which economic modernization and cultural transformation spread over the other complexes in China. The differences within this family of complexes are formed by adaptation of material culture to diverse physico-geographical conditions from cold continental (the North-Eastern ECC) to humid subtropical (the Southern ECC), lack of homogeneity in the level of economic modernization, and the dialects of Chinese language used. The modernization level among these complexes declines from east to west. Gansu, Sichuan and the Internal ECCs are less modernized, and Huabei and Shandong ECC, the South-Eastern ECC are leaders in modernization in China. Despite the mono-ethnic character of this type of ECCs, its linguistic diversity is significant. Chinese language dialects differ to such an extent that speakers have difficulties understanding each other or, in some cases, do not understand each other at all. One of the factors contributed to the diversity of the Han ECCs is the enclave influence of world powers concentrated in open ports: western powers in Eastern and South coasts, Japan in Manchuria and Russian Empire in the extreme North-East. There are 7 ECCs within China proper and Manchuria type.
47Gansu ECC occupies the main part of Gansu province, and the area around Qinghai province capital – Xining; it stretches along Qilian Mountains. This ECC borders ECCs of Xinjiang and Mongolian type and lies in the same steppe and semi-desert conditions, therefore there are similar features in adaptation of material culture. ECC’s per capita GDP is 53% of the country average. Han population share is 94%; 32% of the population lives in towns and cities, and the population density is about 70 people/sq. km. Due to its geographical position and distance to main economic centers, Gansu ECC is the least developed among ECCs of the type. Main dialect spoken is North-West Guanghua.
48Sichuan ECC is mainly located in Sichuan basin, its northern border goes along Qinling mountains, western border – Tibetan Plato, southern border – Yunnan-Guizhou Plato. ECC occupies Eastern Sichuan, Chongqing municipality, north of Guizhou province. For centuries, Sichuan basin was the most populated region in China. Per capita GDP of the Sichuan ECC is 64% of the country average. Non-Han population share is low, 97% of population are Han. Main dialect used is South-West Guanghua. Sichuan ECC is less exposed to westernization, less modernized than coastal ECCs of this type. Urban population accounts 34%, population density is 412 people/sq. km.
49Internal ECC occupies Hunan and Hubei provinces (except for the Enshi and Xiangxi autonomous prefectures), and is the main part of the Jiangxi province, as well as south-west of the Anhui province. It lies on the plain in the middle and lower reaches of Yangtze river. The main dialects spoken are Xiangyu and South-Western Guanghua. Han makes up 97% of the population; among the other 3% are fully assimilated Tujia people. Per capita GDP of Internal ECC is 75% of the country average, and the urban population is 39%. Internal ECC is one the less modernized ECC of China proper and Manchuria type along with Gansu and Sichuan ECCs. Population density is 311 people/sq. km.
50Loess Plateau ECC lies on the Central and Eastern parts of Loess plateau and occupies Shaanxi, Shanxi, and the extreme Eastern part of Gansu provinces. Natural conditions of the territory are close to the same as Ningxia ECC (Xinjiang and Mongolia type), while the agricultural specialization is closer to the Huabei and Shandong ECC. Loess hills’ slopes are used for construction (digging) of dwellings and utility rooms. ECC is less modernized and westernized than coastal ECCs, but leaves the previous three ECCs behind. Coal mining, iron, and steel industry play a main role in the ECCs economy. The east of the Loess Plateau ECC is more developed than the west; the structure repeats the overall countries disproportions. Almost 100% of the population is Han; per capita GDP is 115% of the country average; urban population is 20%, and population density is 356 people/sq. km. Dialects spoken are Jinyu and North-West Guanghua.
51Huabei and Shandong ECC occupies North China Plain and Shandong Peninsula; it includes Hebei, Shandong, and Henan provinces, and Beijing and Tianjin municipalities. North of Anhui and Jiangsu provinces, the south border goes approximately along the Yangtze River. This ECC formed around the capital of the country, and thus plays an important role in modernization of all the ECC of China. It is one of the two modernization poles in China. Industrial history started here in the 18th century with manufactories. Dialects spoken are North-Chinese Guanghua and Ganyu (Beijing is known for rhotacization – frequent utilization of -er ending after vowels). More than 98% of population is Han; per capita GDP is 129% of the country average; urban population is 37%, and the population density is 423 people/sq. km.
52South-East ECC stretches along the East China Sea and South China Sea coasts, from south of the Jiangsu province to the Leizhou peninsula in Guangdong province. It is an economic leader among of all ECCs of China, and profited from the reform and opening-up policy, creation of special economic zones, and preferential measures in 1980-1990s. It is also one of the leaders in economic modernization and cultural transformation led by globalization and urbanization. This phenomenon is not new; 19th century treaty ports in coastal and North East provinces (South-East, Huabei and Shandong, North-East ECCs) were infiltration loci of western culture and technical novelties. At present, South-East ECC, with per capita GDP at 177% of the country average, is the most involved in international division of labor (the Pearl River Delta region is an example). Hans constitute 99% of the population; 55% of population is urban, and the population density is 504 people/sq. km. Linguistically, South-East ECC is distinctly different from the other ECCs of China proper and Manchuria, with the most common dialects/ group of dialects being Wuyu, Minyu and Eyu.
53North-East ECC formed on the territory of the Heilongjiang, Jilin, and Liaoning provinces, and the northern part of Inner Mongolia’s autonomous region. It is the only ECC within the China proper and Manchuria type that includes national autonomies: Yanbian Korean autonomous prefecture, in addition to the part of Inner Mongolia. It occupies territory from Greater and Lesser Khingan in North and West, to Songliao Plain and Liaodong Peninsula in the South, and Changbaishan Mountains in the East. Han make 77% of ECC; their syncretic religious system is the cultural basis of the complex. Non-Han ethnic groups have different beliefs: Mongols and parts of Daurs are lamaists; Hezhen, Ewenki, Oroqen, parts of Daurs, as well as Manchus were shamanists; and Koreans are Buddhists or Christians. All non-Han ethnic groups experienced strong influence of Confucianism and Han cultural tradition. Manchus became almost fully assimilated with the Manchu language, which disappeared as spoken language. The Han part of the ECC speaks North-Chinese Guanghua, which is close to Putongua (official language). Economic activities and lifestyle of the ECC is adapted to the temperate zone, with cold and dry winters and hot summers. ECC is strongly modernized; its long industry history knew periods of Japanese, Russian and Soviet influences that left traces in material and spiritual culture. ECC’s per capita GDP is 114% of the country average; the share of urban population is the highest among all ECCs in China and reaches 58%; and the population density is 136 people/sq. km.
54Economic and Cultural Complexes classified as the Guangxi and Yunnan type are located in the south-western part of the country and have several common features: religion (Animism and Hinayana Buddhism); adaptation of material culture and economic activities to tropical conditions; related economic and cultural types in the past, specifically, plough-based land cultivation from Yunnan and Guangxi, hand tool land cultivation from Yunnan and Southern China. Similar traditions and housing structures are associated with other non-Han ethnic groups - for example, two-story houses with the ground floor used for cattle or other livestock and the upper level used by family, free relations for unmarried young people, and the wife moves in with her husband’s family only after the birth of their first child.
55Although these regions have been subject to the Chinese cultural influence for thousands of years, the population of this family of economic and cultural complexes has still not been completely assimilated. The barrier between the Han and non-Han population was maintained by their different position within the feudal society. The proportion of non-Han population here is high, and increases from east to west. Ethnic composition is mixed (Figure 2). Putonghua, the official Chinese language, is not used frequently in everyday life. Chinese authorities have invested a lot of effort into the economic and cultural transformation of these regions through the “Go West” program and education. Development of the tourism sector based on the regions’ rich natural, cultural and ethnic resources produces a contradictory impact on the complexes. Creating new opportunities for people and attracting resources for conservation and the study of ethnic heritage causes folklorization (Grillot C., 2001). The type includes 6 ECCs.
56Trans-Mekong ECC lies at the west of Yunnan province on the right bank of the Mekong River, and includes the Nujiang Lisu and Dehong Dai and Jingpo autonomous prefectures. In the past, the population of the territory belonged to the Yunnan economic and cultural type of tools land cultivation (type X at Fig. 5). Trans-Mekong ECC is one of the four non-Han ECCs where non-Han population is the majority (over 60%), and the share of Han is 36%. Due to its remoteness, big proportion of non-Han ethnic groups and their diversity, the ECC is one of the least sinicized in China. Religions are Animism (Lisu, Lahu, Jingpo, Jino), Totemism (Va), sinctretic system of Han and ancestor worship, Catholicism, Buddhism Hinayana and Mahayana. At the moment when ECCs of China were forming, economic activities of different ethnic groups ranged from hunting and gathering to crafts, while ECCs of China Proper and Manchuria type had industrial production and commercial farming. ECC was not ready for immediate adoption of modern production methods, and it was not easily accessible and far from modernization and sinicization centers. Thus, even now, Trans-Mekong ECC is one of the least modernized (per capita GDP is 34% of the country average). Urban population makes up only 19%, and the population density is 59 people/sq. km.
57Central Yunnan ECC is located at the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, and includes Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture (Sichuan province), the central part of Yunnan province (up to the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture in the South), and two autonomous prefectures in the North Yunnan: Dali Bai and Chuxiong Yi. Previously, the population belonged to the Yunnan economic and cultural type of plough-based land cultivation (see type XI at Fig. 5). Central Yunnan ECC is multi-ethnic: Han population makes 56% of the ECC, and the ethnic and religious composition of non-Han population is mixed. In the middle of the 20th century, there was Animism, ancestor worship, Buddhism Hinayana, and Mahayana, Lamaism, Taoism, Dongba (Nakhi people). Ethnic groups of the ECC have their own languages; two of them had writing forms: Bai used Chinese characters, Yi developed their ideographic system. Han, Bai and Yi had the main cultural influences in the region; Yi’s society was divided into tribes and castes. Presently, the transformation of the spiritual culture and modernization of material culture goes under Han influence. Both have a long way to go compared with coastal ECCs: Central Yunnan ECC per capita GDP is 49% of the country average, urban population share is 18%, and the agricultural output exceeds the industrial one. ECC preserves its linguistic, religious singularity and traditions though, as other ECCs of Guangxi and Yunnan type, it experiences folklorization and adverse effects of tourism development. Population density is 86 people/sq. km.
58Eastern Yunnan ECC is located at the South-East of Yunnan province, and includes two autonomous prefectures: Wenshan Zhuang, and Miao and Honghe Hani and Yi. ECC was preceded by Yunnan and Guangxi types of plough-based land cultivation (see types XI and XIII at Fig. 5). Eastern Yunnan ECC, in its cultural, ethnic and linguistic characteristics, is close to Central Yunnan ECC. The ECC is multi-ethnic as well; non-Han population is presented by Hani, Yi, Zhuang, Miao, and Yao. ECC’s per capita GDP is 41% of the country average; Han population makes 43%, the share of urban population is 26%, and the population density is 114 people/sq. km. Development of the non-ferrous metal industry with the center in Gejiu (Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture) exposes ECC to the strong modernization and sinicization influence from Han; the industrial output exceeds the agricultural one and urbanization level is higher than in Central Yunnan ECC. However this transformation is localized in metallurgical centers.
59Xishuangbanna ECC was formed within the borders of the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture at the South of Yunnan province. In the past, the population of the territory belonged to the Yunnan economic and cultural type of plough-based land cultivation (see type XI at Fig. 5). Xishuangbanna is a non-Han ECC, with the Han proportion being only 25%, and the non-Han population is mainly represented by Dai (other ethnic groups are Hani, Lisu, Blang, Lahu, Va, Yao, and Jino). The Dai are Buddhists; there are adherents of four Hinayana sects. Dai language has written form based on ancient an Indian alphabet. Xishuangbanna ECC’s per capita GDP is 64% of the country average, and higher than Yunnan average. Urban population share is 31%, and the population density is 46 people/sq. km (2004). The higher level of modernization might be explained by the development of tourism, or the location of border facilities and services.
60Guangxi ECC occupies the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region, and the Qianxinan Buyei and Miao Autonomous Prefecture at the south of Guizhou province. Guangxi is a multi-ethnic ECC, Han population proportion is 61% (the second largest within the Guangxi and Yunnan type). ECC includes the biggest non-Han ethnic group in China – Zhuang. Among other non-Han ethnic groups are the Buyei, Miao, Yao, Sui, Mulao, etc. The Zhuang culture had significant influence on other non-Han groups; the Zhuang language has written form based on Chinese characters. The Miao language used several alphabets successively, now, there are different alphabets in use for different dialects. Religious background of the Guangxi ECC includes Han syncretic system, ancestor worship, and Animism. The ECC was preceded by Southern China’s economic and cultural type of hand tool land cultivation, and Guangxi economic and cultural type of plough-based land cultivation (see types XII and XIII at Fig. 5). Guangxi ECC’s per capita GDP is 53% of the country average, the urban population share is 32%, and the population density is 205 people/sq. km. Guangxi is one of the least modernized ECCs of the country. Ethnic handicrafts (batik, embroidery, silver ornaments, etc) nowadays transform into souvenirs’ industry.
61Hainan ECC lies on the Hainan island in the South China sea. The ECC has the highest Han population share, with 82% within the Guangxi and Yunnan type (2004), it is the only Han majority ECC among those ECC with the poorest ethnic composition. Non-Han ethnic groups are Li and Miao, and they inhabit mostly Central and South mountainous parts of the island. The religious bases of the ECC are Han syncretic systems, and Animism. Previously, the island was occupied by two economic and cultural types: Southern China type of hand tool land cultivation, and South-Eastern subtype of Eastern China type of plough-based land cultivation (see types XII and Ie at Fig. 5). Per capita GDP is 77% of the country average, the urban population share is 44% (both are the highest within the type). Yet, Hainan ECC is still among the least modernized of the ECCs of China. The population density is 241 people/sq. km.
62Two ECCs in Qinghai-Tibetan type are found on the world’s highest and largest plateau. Their remoteness, unfavorable relief, and climate, limit the variety of economic activities and at the same time help to maintain their cultural identity. These complexes are non-Han with the Han population share only 4%; the majority of population is Tibetan. The differences between the two complexes are, first, modernization level, and second, different economic and cultural types in the past. Tibetans from the valley were farmers, and Tibetans from the plateau were nomadic cattle-breeders. Tibetan ECCs are sparsely populated: population density is 2 people/sq. km.
63The Zangbo river valley ECC occupies the South of Tibet Autonomous Region. It was formed around the administrative centre of the autonomous region, and is more modernized than that of the Tibetan Plateau. Per capita GDP is 69% of the country average. The Zangbo river valley ECC is now a center of modernization efforts by Central Government, and experiences sinicization caused by inflow of the Han capital and people, stimulated by completion of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway and tourism growth. The ECC was preceded by three economic and cultural types: the Tibet and Qinghai types of nomadic cattle-breeding, of highland plough-based land cultivation, and the Tibetan type of hand tool land cultivation (see types VII, VIII, and IX at Fig. 5). The ethnic diversity in the Zangbo river valley complex is greater – as well as Tibetans, there are Menba and Lhoba. Main religion in the ECC is Lamaism (Gelug is the main sect), and part of the Menba and Lhoba are Animists. Tibetans have always had a strong influence on other ethnic groups, which sometimes used Tibetan written language or spoke Tibetan. Urban population share is 28%.
64Tibetan Plateau ECC occupies north of Tibet Autonomous region, and southern parts of the Haixi and Yushu Autonomous prefectures (Qinghai province). It was preceded by two economic and cultural types: Tibet and Qinghai types of nomadic cattle-breeding and highland plough-based land cultivation (see types VII and VIII at Fig. 5). Modernization and sinicization are less noticeable here than in the Zangbo river valley ECC; per capita GDP is just 46% of the country average. The religious base of the ECC is Lamaism.
65ECCs classified under the Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia type belong to Central Asia – a physico-geographical region with desert, semi-desert and steppe landscapes. They all have a significant proportion of Altaic language family ethnic groups in their population. In the past, they belonged to Xinjiang and Mongolian economic and cultural type of nomadic pastoralism, or to the Xinjiang and Gansu economic and cultural type of plough-based land cultivation. Three of the four complexes have the same religion (Islam), two of the complexes (Southern Xinjiang (Tarim) and Northern Xinjiang) are the frontier between China and Central Asia (“buried Iran” Krishchiunas, 1993, p.111). In ECCs of this family, the alteration of the territories with different economic modernization and cultural transformation levels manifests more sharply than in others. This situation has persisted since the foundation of the PRC, and is determined by the low population density (In 2004, the population density in Xinjiang was 12 people/sq. km, in Inner Mongolia, 21 people/sq.km). Northern Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia are economic leaders among the ECCs of this type; the Southern Xinjiang complex belongs to the least modernized among Chinese ECCs; and Ningxia is positioned in between.
66Southern Xinjiang (Tarim) ECC occupies the South and West of the Tarim Basin; it includes the Kizilsu Kirghiz Autonomous Prefecture, southern parts of the Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region. It is a non-Han ECC with a Han population share as small as 7%. Non-Han ethnic groups are Tajiks, Kirgiz, Hui, Uygurs, and Uzbeks. Prevalent religion is Islam (Sunnis and Ismailis). ECC was preceded by Xinjiang and Mongolian economic and cultural type of nomadic pastoralism (see type IV at Fig. 5). Per capita GDP is 25% of the country average, the urban population share is 35%, and the population density is 7 people/sq. km. Southern Xinjiang ECC is among the least modernized in China and the least modernized within the type. ECC is remote and little sinicized.
67Nothern Xinjiang ECC occupies the main part of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region and includes four autonomous prefectures (Bortala Mongol, Ili Kazakh, Changji Hui; north of Bayingolin Mongol prefecture). Territory stretches from the south of the Altai Range, through the Dzungarian Basin and east of the Tian Shan range, to the north of the Tarim Basin. Previously, the territory was occupied by two economic and cultural types: the Xinjiang and Mongolian type of nomadic pastoralism, and the Xinjiang and Gansu type of plough-based land cultivation (see types IV and V at Fig. 5). Population density is 12 people/sq. km. Han population makes up 57% of the ECC; and the Han proportion increases around Urumqi, and decreases at the borders of the ECC’s territory. Ethnic and religious composition of the non-Han population is mixed: Uyghurs, Kazakh, Uzbek, Tatars that are Sunnis, Mongols that are Lamaists, and Xibe – Shamanists. Non-Han ethnic groups widely use their languages in everyday life and paper work, and in TV and radio broadcasts. Per capita GDP is 93% of the country average, and the urban population makes 30%. Northern Xinjiang ECC includes main industrial and oil production centers in Xinjiang, by the level of modernization of its material culture and fixed assets, the ECC is close to Gansu and Internal ECCs. Its distance from ECCs of China proper and Manchuria type let it keep its sinicization level, though it used to increase rapidly in the 20th century (Han population proportion in Xinjiang grew from 7% in 1953 to 57% in 2004, Zhongguo Minzu Tongji Nianjian, 1994, China’s Ethnic Statistical Yearbook, 2006).
68Ningxia ECC occupies the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. It is a multi-ethnic ECC, with the Han population share being 64%. ECC is quite monotonous in its ethnic composition; there are two main groups: Han and Hui. The religious base of the ECC is the Han syncretic system, and Islam (Sunnis). Ningxia ECC was preceded by Eastern China’s economic and cultural type of plough-based land cultivation Loess Plato subtype (see type Ic at Fig. 5). With per capita GDP as much as 64% of the country average and urban population share of 44%, Ningxia ECC is the second least modernized within the Xinjiang and Mongolia type. The population density is 89 people/sq. km, the highest within the type.
69Inner Mongolia ECC occupies the central and western parts of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region; the east border lies at the north-east of the Inner Mongolian Plateau. It is mostly Han ECC, with Han population proportion 78%. The main non-Han ethnic group is Mongol. Main religions are the Han syncretic system, and Lamaism. The Mongolian language has its own written form. The ECC was preceded by two economic and cultural types: Xinjiang and Mongolian type of nomadic pastoralism, and Eastern China’s type of plough-based land cultivation, Shandong and Dongbei subtypes (see types Ia, Ib and IV at Fig. 5). Per capita GDP is 92% of the country average, Urban population makes 49% of the population. By the level of modernization, Inner Mongolia ECC is the same as North Xinjiang and Gansu ECCs. Inner Mongolia ECC is strongly sinicized in the south, at the border with ECC of China Proper and Manchuria type, where main industrial centers are located. In the areas close to border with Mongolia and in the western part, sinicization level decreases.
70The two limitrophe zones lie at the periphery of the territory occupied by ECCs of China proper and Manchuria. The Qinghai limitrophe zone was formed at the belt of Tibetan autonomous prefectures that surrounds the Tibetan Autonomous region. The belt is a contact zone of Tibetan culture with cultures of the Han of ethnic groups of Southern China, Xinjiang, and Mongolia. Han proportion changes from 4% to 45%, and the per capita GDP varies from 18% to 74% of the country average; the majority of religions are presented, and in the past there were four economic and cultural types.
71The South China limitrophe zone includes the north-east of the Yunnan province and the Guizhou province, where highly sinicized and quite modernized areas neighbor the poorest areas with low Han population proportions. It exists at the contact of China proper ECCs and Yunnan and Guangxi ones. Han proportions vary from 20% to 86%; per capita GDP is 20-69% of the country average; and the main religions are Han syncretism, Buddhism, and Animism. In the past there were five economic and cultural types.
72The combined economic and cultural approach used in this paper shows that China is a more diverse country than is usually reflected by other types of regionalization. Let’s consider the examples of economic regions (Table 1), complex geographical regions, geo-historical regions and regions based on ethnic customs identified by different researchers as existing within the Chinese territory (Gao Zengwei, ed., 1999; Krishchiunas V.-R., 1993; Kondrasheva L., Korneichuk N., 1998; Zhao Qi, Shen Zhuanjian, eds., 2002).
73Two examples of economic regionalizations are the division of China into economic regions in 1980-1990 and the modern day. Since 2005, the Development Research Centre of the State Council of China has identified “four macroplates, eight large economic regions” within the country (Chen, Mengping, Jing, Tihua, 2007). In 1980-1990, China was divided into 7 economic regions (Kondrasheva, L., Korneichuk, N., 1998). In both cases, the western regions are much larger than the eastern ones; both tend to merge territories with noticeable cultural differences.
74For example, in the State Council’s regionalization, the south-western region combines the Han dominated Sichuan province with multi-ethnic Yunnan, which itself is composed of several cultural unities; the north-western region at the same time embraces Tibet and Ningxia, which are located in different geographical regions and inhabited by culturally different populations. In the preceding division (1980-1990), Tibet was placed in the same territorial unit as Guizhou, and Guangxi was in the same region as Fujian. In both cases, such unification seemed to be disputable from the point of view of physical geography as well as culture and ethnic geography. An econo–cultural approach reveals the existence of some more regions in China’s west and gives them different borders. This becomes possible because more attention is paid to the cultural constituents, as culture is considered to have a strong influence on a region’s economy.
75More importantly, culture also determines how a region will react to modernization efforts and suggests what these efforts should be. Thus the existence of territories with different cultural characteristics within one region might erode understanding of the economic processes in the region and might make a particular economic policy inefficient.
76The “Geography of China” (Zhao, Qi, Shen, Zhuanjian, 2002) uses eight complex geographic regions, based on natural and economic characteristics. These regions stress physico-geographical differentiation in China and the influence of this on the economy. Cultural and ethnic components are omitted, therefore the country’s diversity is underrepresented. At the same time, the similarity between the borders of 4 ECCs and the eight complex geographic regions shows that physico-geographical conditions have clearly impacted the overall diversity in Chinese economy and culture.
77V.-R. Krishchiunas used a combination of formational and civilizational approaches to identify the world’s geohistorical regions. He characterized a geohistorical region as a “regional version of civilizations” and “loci of development and the deepest manifestation of certain [socioeconomic] formations” (Krishchiunas, V.-R., 1993). In China, there are seven such regions and they represent the foundations underpinning modern China’s cultural and economic diversity, rather than the present-day situation. Geohistorical regions lie within a different time horizon and present other structural differences in economy than those reflected in an ECC analysis. For example, in geohistorical regionalization, Tibet, North-Eastern, and the tropical South appear as separate units.
78Regionalization by ethnic customs is an example of pure cultural geographic regionalization. Zengwei Gao (Gao, Zengwei, 1999) identified seven areas with different customs and lifestyles. The areas differ in their adaptation of dwellings, agricultural activities, adaptation of dress to climatic condition, by cuisine, festivals and their schedule, religions, and folklore. However, the concept does not deeply consider the present-day lifestyle, and does not use an ethnic map as a foundation for regionalization (meanwhile, ethnic characteristics are used in the description of regions). The stress which this regionalization puts on the historic variation of customs under the different physico-geographic condition makes it slightly similar to an ethnographic concept of economic and cultural types. The regions’ borders are closer to types of ECCs in this paper than to the ECCs themselves. An ECC approach differs from this regionalization by using a wider range of indicators for regional identification. The time horizon for both differs as well.
79Economic and cultural complexes differ from the above described regionalizations by the size and number of regions. Unlike in other regionalizations, in an ECC-based regionalization there are several entities in Yunnan, Xinjiang, Tibet. A comparison of types of ECCs with the regions identified by other researchers shows that joint consideration of ethnic, cultural and economic characteristics leads to the separation of Gansu province from Xinjiang, and the separation of Hainan from east coast entities. The final difference is that an ECC identification procedure reveals the existence of limitrophe zones within Chinese territory. Their existence is quite natural, however there are no similar “transitional areas” detailed in the other regionalizations.
Sources: Gao Zengwei, ed., 1999; Krishchiunas V.-R., 1993; Kondrasheva L., Korneichuk N., 1998; Zhao Qi, Shen Zhuanjian, eds., 2002.
80The close relationship between culture and economy makes an integrated analysis natural in human geography. Such an analysis requires specific research tools. This article presents two such tools: the concept of the economic and cultural complex (ECC) and the method for the identification of these complexes. This paper carries out an identification of ECCs in China, a highly diverse country, which is therefore a interesting target for such studies.
81An ECC is a group of a population with a system of specific economic and cultural features created by the links between economy and culture in a territory. The presented method of ECC identification combines cartographic regionalization and statistical clustering procedures followed by harmonization of the results. Note that this method allows in the analysis a combination of quantitative data (economic indicators) and qualitative data (cultural description of regions).
82The ECC research method applied to China shows that China is more diverse than is usually reflected by economic or cultural geographical regionalizations. Yunnan province, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region, and the eastern Han region are each spilt among several ECCs. Moreover, there exist the limitrophe zones located between different types of ECCs. Description of the economic and cultural complexes indicates a lower level of modernization in western and multi-ethnic complexes compared to eastern Han complexes. Typology of the complexes reveals the main cultural borders within the country.
83The difficulties of the ECC method are the following. Firstly, not all the data that might be needed or would be useful is easily available or even exists (in particular, its cultural component). Second, official data is usually associated with administrative regions and thus it might be hard to identify the real borders of economic and cultural complexes in cases where they cross administrative regions. In this case some extra cartographic materials and data are needed to precisely specify the borders.
84This research can be continued in two directions: firstly, through the study of economic and cultural complexes in China, their dynamics and factors of such dynamics, secondly, through the application of the presented method to identify the economic and cultural complexes in other countries and regions.