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The Government Next DoorNeighborhood Politics in Urban China$
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Luigi Tomba

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452826

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452826.001.0001

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Contained Contention

Contained Contention

Interests, Places, Community, and the State

(p.117) 4 Contained Contention
The Government Next Door

Luigi Tomba

Cornell University Press

This chapter investigates the rising incidence of social conflicts in new neighborhoods and the articulation of collective interests around property rights issues in middle-class residential communities. An analysis of their framing mechanisms shows that these do not carry the potential for societal autonomy that other authors have suggested. This potential is effectively contained by the physical form that these residential compounds have taken (gated and walled compounds, often managed by private companies). The walls provide a concrete marker of how broadly certain interests are allowed to coalesce without triggering a reaction by the authoritarian state. This contained contention also reduces the potential for systemic unrest and the risks for the overall stability of the regime.

Keywords:   social conflicts, Chinese neighborhoods, middle class, residential communities, property rights, societal autonomy

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