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Social Space And Governance In Urban China: The Danwei System From Origins To Reform

Social Space And Governance In Urban China: The Danwei System From Origins To Reform

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Book DescriptionCentered on the urban workplace, the "danwei" (workunit) has been the fundamental social and spatial unit of urban China under socialism. Not only was it the source of employment, wages, and other material benefits for the vast majority of urban residents, it was also the institution through which the urban population was housed, organized, regulated, policed, educated, trained, protected, and surveyed. Furthermore, as the basic unit of urban society, each "danwei" became a community, providing its members with identity, a "face," and social belonging.

With particular focus on the link between spatial forms and social organization, this book traces the origins and development of this critical institution up to the present day. Recent economic restructuring has seen the "danwei" lose its dominant role, yet its presence still influences the possibilities for urban transformation. Moreover, the author argues, the new institutions emerging in its place display important characteristics of the old "danwei" system.