Reconsolidation of state power into urbanising villages: Shareholding reforms as a strategy for governance in the Pearl River Delta region

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Shareholding Cooperatives (SCs) are the officially recognised organisations responsible for managing villagers’ collectively owned assets. In recent years, massive land requisitions in the Pearl River Delta region have led many villages to experience a rapid expansion in their collective assets, highlighting the indispensable role of SCs in reshaping the landscape of local governance. Based upon an in-depth case study of the Guangzhou Luogang District, this study shows that the local state has engaged with shareholding reforms to achieve two main objectives: inducing compliance amongst villagers and promoting the accountability of village cadres in the management of collective assets. These empirical findings suggest that shareholding reforms were not simply a process of market building or property rights reforms driven by local initiatives. Rather, they should also be interpreted as a process of state power reconsolidation, whereby the local government sought to regain its control over the urbanising villages.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)689-704
Number of pages16
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • China
  • governance
  • shareholding reforms
  • state
  • urbanisation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Urban Studies

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