Edited by Ray Yep, June Wang and Thomas Johnson
Chapter 16: Informal migrant settlements and urban grassroots stability
Rapid rural-urban migration and urbanization tend to cause spatial contestation and socio-political instabilities. This phenomenon has travelled across time and space but delimited in China. This chapter reveals the institutional legacies including the hukou, land and danwei systems to sanction factory dormitory and guarantee exit points. But it stresses the roles of intermediate agencies comprise resident committees, joint-stock companies, and clan networks. By revealing the mechanisms of differentiated public goods provision and social engagement in various informal migrant settlements in China’s metropolis, this chapter explains how these intermediaries have thrived along with service privatization and community governance. It also analyses the mechanisms through which crime rates are controlled, public amenities are produced and service contracts are distributed in the locale. Consolidating a web of clients and reinforce one another’s independence, these grassroots agencies effectively keep migrant contestation dispersed and manageable.
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