As an emergent global event, World Expo not only performs globality and cosmopolitanism under the competing international framework, but could also provide the creative new visions that dramatically transform the society on the global scale. This paper analyzes how the sustainable future of cities has been creatively imagined and performed by the competing national and corporate pavilions in the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. It first deals with the convergent power of the World Expo in providing cosmopolitan vision in the context of Shanghai as an Asian city. Then, it discusses the dilemma of representation between nationalism and globalization in the contemporary World Expo, especially when new technology is highly involved into the design to perform global issue of sustainability. The environmental future will then be imagined through the forms that are national cultures related, city culture oriented, materiality realized and new technology engaged. Multiple senses involved sustainable future represented in the World Expo as the general exhibition will also be discussed. Finally, this paper will examine how the created affection has been performed in the World Expo, considering different audiences’ reflexive reactions towards the spectacle environmental imagination.
XVII World Congress of Sociology, Gothenburg, Sweden