This article investigates the interest structure that leads to collective conflicts over the protection of private property in middle-class residential compounds in Beijing. The departure from a work-unit dominated social landscape means that work and residence are now de-linked and the new private residential compounds create communities of consumers, not of producers. Individual status is formed in the context of local socialization patterns in the neighbourhoods at least as much as in the workplace. Based on fieldwork in Beijing's residential compounds in 2002 and 2003, this article highlights the importance of spatial factors in determining the formation of collective interests and argues that the enclosed residential spaces of the gated communities are providing both a catalyst for the autonomous mobilization of collective resources and new social units for the Chinese state to govern an increasingly complex society.
|Journal||The China Quarterly|
|Publication status||Published - 2005|