The Applicability of Governance Theory in China: A Novel Approach

  • Jianxing Yu
  • Shizong Wang


As an influential theory of social science, governance theory has played a prominent role in development studies over the past two decades. Because this theory originates from the Western society, Chinese academics have disputed over its applicability in China, which has essentially different conditions in democracy, rule of law, and civil society from the Western society. It is argued in this chapter that Chinese scholars should neither take its applicability for granted based on the strong solicitude for the reality of China nor conclude that the governance theory is not applicable in China based on rigid structural analysis. Jessop’s Strategic-Relational Approach (1996) presents an enlightenment of practical value that actors’ choice of strategies and actions needs investigating based on an objective understanding of the structural background. Under the existing political-administrative system of fragmented authoritarianism, China’s civil society has already developed into “a dynamic force outside the state system,” entitled to certain participation in public affairs. Such a novel understanding is of great significance in developing both the study and practice of governance in China.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jianxing Yu
    • 1
  • Shizong Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Public AffairsZhejiang UniversityHangzhou, ZhejiangChina

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