Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist
On Feeding the Masses

On Feeding the Masses
An Anatomy of Regulatory Failure in China

$99.99 (C)

  • Date Published: December 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107199644

$ 99.99 (C)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • China's food safety system is in crisis. Egregious scandals, as varied as the sale of liquor laced with Viagra and the distribution of fake eggs, reveal how regulatory practices have been stretched to their limit in the world's largest food production system. On Feeding the Masses focuses on the oft-cited but ultimately overlooked concept of scale to identify the root causes of China's regulatory failures in food safety. The 'politics of scale' framework highlights how regulators disagree on which level of government is best suited to regulate ('the scale of governance'), struggle to address multilevel tensions ('multidimensional scale integration'), and fail to understand how policies at one level of government can affect other levels of government in unexpected and costly ways ('scale externalities'). Drawing from over 200 interviews with food safety regulators and producers, the study provides one of the most comprehensive accounts of China's food safety crisis to date.

    • Assesses China's food safety problems in comparative context
    • Utilizes interviews with government officials, internal food safety documents, and policy experimentation sites
    • Provides in-depth case studies drawing from extensive fieldwork
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘Food safety has become one of the most salient quality-of-life issues. Using a ‘politics of scale' framework, John K. Yasuda sheds important light on the politics of food safety in China. He also helps us appreciate the challenges of governance in large-scale polities.' Dali L. Yang, University of Chicago

    ‘Why do government regulations designed to safeguard the public so often fail to achieve this goal in practice? John K. Yasuda's On Feeding the Masses provides a fresh answer to this important question by going deep inside the Chinese state. Yasuda finds that the lackluster performance of China's national food safety system stems not from corruption, lack of state capacity, or recalcitrant bureaucrats, but from ‘scale politics,' that is, the difficulties of coordinating knowledge, procedures, and rules across different levels of government. Yasuda's ‘politics of scale' theoretical framework, which he elucidates and tests with impressive subnational and cross-national evidence, offers an exciting new way for scholars and practitioners to understand and manage the challenges of multilevel governance.' Richard Snyder, Brown University, Rhode Island

    '… Yasuda’s new book On Feeding the Masses: An anatomy of Regulatory Failure in China is worth the wait. … Part of the appeal of Yasuda’s conceptual framework is its ability to incorporate so much analytical territory. Overall, Yasuda’s book will appeal to political scientists and policy analysts researching China, as well as anyone researching or working in the food industries in China. It is also an excellent teaching resource for undergraduate and graduate courses on food and government in China.' Sacha Cody,

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107199644
    • length: 272 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 156 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • contains: 10 b/w illus. 14 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Food safety and China's scale problem
    2. Revisiting scale
    3. On feeding the masses
    4. The export sector: the heavy hand of direct control
    5. CSA markets: 'I don't sell vegetables, I sell trust'
    6. Failed state policies: scale and its discontents
    7. Co-regulatory initiatives: China's big, small farmer problem
    8. Scaling-down: moving from global to the local
    9. Scaling-up: from local experiments to national solutions?
    10. The scale politics of regulatory giants compared
    11. Parting thoughts on scale

  • Author

    John K. Yasuda, Indiana University
    John K. Yasuda is Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Indiana University, Bloomington. Yasuda's research includes the study of regulatory reform in China, governance, and the politics of regulatory failure. He has published in the China Quarterly, the Journal of Politics, and Regulation and Governance. Yasuda has commented on food safety issues for The Guardian, The New York Times, and China Dialogue. Research for On Feeding the Masses was supported by the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Award, the NSEP Boren Fellowship, and the National Science Foundation. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and his M.Phil. from the University of Oxford.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.