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Adaptation under Scrutiny: Peering Through the Lens of Community Governance in China

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2016

Department of International Development, London School of Economics, Houghton Street London WC2A 2AE email:


This paper examines processes of adaptive governance and authoritarian resilience through the lens of community governance, bringing together hitherto unrelated fields of study. It argues first that adaptation has unintended consequences that can threaten stability but do not necessarily cause regime crisis. Second, it contends that the structural fault-lines of institutionalised categorical inequality, marketisation, and professionalization, along with the pathologies of Leninist authoritarianism, undermine adaptive community governance. The paper draws on qualitative research in two neighbourhoods of Shanghai.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 

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