Deliberating governance in Chinese urban communities

Tang, Beibei. (2015) Deliberating governance in Chinese urban communities. The China Journal, 73 (January 2015), pp. 84-107. URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/679270

This article examines the mechanisms of conflict resolution by public deliberation in Chinese urban residential communities. The analysis focuses on the interactions between three key actors of community life: Residents’ Committees (as the agent of the state), residents, and their representative organizations. Based on empirical data from three types of urban communities, the article finds that deliberation is more effective in communities where the power of Residents’ Committees over residents is weak, and deliberation also works better in communities with strong resident representatives who are able to mobilize information flows and to shape public reasoning. The findings suggest that, on the one hand, the governance structure of Chinese urban residential communities provides space for informal, unstructured public deliberation; on the other hand, deliberation also meets obstacles and dilemmas associated with representation, coordination and fostering understanding across social and economic divisions.

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Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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