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10 Power Networks and State-Society Relations in Republican China

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents a different perspective on state-society relations during the Republican period through an examination of sub-county administration and its operational realities. It examines the Guomindang's efforts to establish sub-county administration in post-1935 Sichuan, and its impact on state-society relations. Until now, one's understanding of the impact of state-making on local society in Republican China has largely been dominated by explanations that have highlighted either village dissolution or successful resistance to state intrusion. In short, alliances and power networks were formed in a number of ways, along different lines of interest that defy any simple dichotomization. Thus, the picture of Republican era state-society relations that begins to emerge from this close-up view of the operational realities of sub-county administration is complex, and deserves further research based on archival records.

Keywords: Guomindang; post-1935 Sichuan; power networks; Republican China; state intrusion; state-society relations; sub-county administration; village dissolution



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