Uneven Infrastructural Power of the State in Governing Homeowner Associations in Urban China: A Case Study of Guangzhou

Authors: Rong Cai*, University of Hong Kong
Topics: China, Urban Geography, Political Geography
Keywords: China, the state, infrastructural power, homeowner association, neighbourhoods
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Stones Throw 2 - Slate, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This article examines the extension of state infrastructural power in urban China by exploring how the local state exerts institutionalised penetration into the homeowner association (HOA), a newly emerging neighbourhood-based organisation, and thus maintains its political power in private residential neighbourhoods. Based on an empirical research in Guangzhou since 2012, this study has unveiled three components of the infrastructural power employed by Chinese governments for the control of HOAs: (1) the strategic expansion of regulatory power; (2) the establishment of HOA registration institution and its discretionary implementation; and (3) flexible techniques of ranking and shaming. However, the actual infrastructural reach of state power varies from neighbourhood to neighbourhood due to the fragmented administrative capacities divided by the vertically and horizontally organised government agencies. This study enriches Mann’s conceptual framework of infrastructure power through its close scrutiny of the fragmented feature of state apparatus, and updates our understanding of the dynamic state-society interactions at the conjuncture of economic liberation and political domination.

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