Park Sang-Soo, Korea University
Abstract: Through an analysis of the early urban administration building process, the formation of neighborhood space, the connotation of “autonomy” (zizhi) of Residents’ Committees (RCs), and problems of governmental leadership in carrying out street works, this article attempts to redefine the state-society relationship in 1950s Beijing at the neighborhood level, appropriating the concept of “governance” instead of the conventional “state control” approaches which are, to a certain extent, based on the totalitarian model. The term “governance,” widely used in academia over the past decade, is essentially defined as state-society cooperation as opposed to the existing state-society dichotomy and its contradictory relationship. This more detailed and thorough investigation into the discrepancies between state intention and the reality of its own conditions, based on new materials preserved in the Beijing Municipal Archives, reveals a different landscape from the state’s strict control system in which governmental organizations seamlessly reached the lowest level of society. The strengthened reach of state power over urban society in the 1950s materialized not by coercive control through the expansion of the organs of state to the basic levels of society, but by governance through which positive societal responses to and cooperation with state policy could be put into place.
About the HYI Working Paper Series: The Harvard-Yenching Institute is pleased to make available working papers by HYI affiliated scholars on topics in the humanities and social sciences, with special attention to the study of Asian culture.
The HYI Working Paper Series welcomes submissions from all HYI-affiliated faculty and fellowship grantees (including graduate students). Scholars are invited to post papers either in English or in an Asian language. To submit a paper, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed in the HYI Working Paper Series are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the Harvard-Yenching Institute. HYI Working Papers have not undergone formal review and approval. Such papers are included in this series to elicit feedback and to encourage discussion. Copyright belongs to the author(s). Papers may be downloaded for personal use only, and may not be cited without the author’s permission.