Dancing with Diversity?

The Evolving Party-Society Nexus in Urban China

  • Chunrong Liu Fudan University
  • Yanwen Tang Shanghai University
Keywords: Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Primary Party Organisations (PPO), community governance, Leninist Institutional Framework


Rapid market transition in post-reform China has created various socioeconomic spaces that fall beyond the Leninist mode of control by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and thus constitutes a formidable challenge to its ruling capacity.  This article examines the evolving adaptations of the CCP and the rise of a new form of Party-society nexus in urban China. We found that Party organisers have been fostering a spatial strategy in the context of ‘disorganised urban socialism’. By spanning institutional and sectoral gaps, engaging so-called ‘floating party members’, and developing community-based service networks, the Party has deliberately combined a specific social mechanism with the Leninist logic of organising. We conclude with a broader discussion of the possible scenario and political implication of CCP’s organisational consolidation from below.

Author Biographies

Chunrong Liu, Fudan University
CHUNRONG LIU is an associate professor of political science at Fudan University and managing director of Fudan-European Centre for China Studies at University of Oslo. He is also a research associate at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS). His research interests are in the areas of political sociology and comparative politics, with a focus on state-society relations in post-reform China and China’s domestic-foreign policy nexus.
Yanwen Tang, Shanghai University
YANWEN TANG is an associate professor at the Department of Sociology at Shanghai University, where she also serves as a research fellow at the Shanghai Centre for Political Party Studies. Her research interests include organisational sociology and social organisations in China.


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