Shanghai is routinely described as "unique," yet also routinely likened to other places. It thus alternately invites and defies categorization. After introducing general methodological concerns and providing basic information about the main historical stages through which Shanghai has passed, this article focuses on the period of rapid development and re-engagement with the world that began in the early 1980s, arguing that a particularly productive way to think about today's Shanghai is as a "reglobalizing postsocialist" urban center--a category that also, for example, includes Budapest.
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