Policies, Practices and Positioning
Edited by Per Olof Berg and Emma Björner
Chapter 2: Governing by the state: a study of the literature on governing Chinese mega-cities
Chinese cities nowadays have grown in size to such an extent that they can be classified as mega-cities according to world standards of demography and physical morphology. Like those of their counterparts in the world, the governing of these Chinese mega-cities amidst our globalising world is an issue of great concern. There is a burgeoning, urban China, literature that elaborates on understandings of urban governing by coining a considerable number of concepts. Of great relevance here are the related concepts of urban governance, entrepreneurialism, inter-city competition and strategic discourse. It is appropriate at this stage of mega-city development to interrogate this literature: how relevant are these concepts? Given that Chinese cities nowadays are an integral part of the world, such a literature review contributes not only to the understanding of the Chinese situation but also to the debate in the urban literature in the world in general. It is the objective of this chapter to interrogate this urban China literature. Instead of literally taking stock of the voluminous papers on this subject on their own, it surveys the literature from the perspective of knowledge production. There is a group of researchers from the subaltern, post-colonial and de-colonial camps (SAPC) lamenting that the world of knowledge production has been dominated by the West since the Renaissance and Enlightenment. This development is considered detrimental to knowledge production and, consequently, the well being of people in the non-West. To redress this imbalance, they advocate the inside-out perspective of knowledge production.
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