In recent years, urban community studies in China have been taking a closer look at neighbourhood space. Many researchers have examined neighbourhood using a state-society approach. This article argues that the fragmented state structure and the diversified society have led to calls for a different view of state and society. Based on the empirical studies in Shanghai, this article attempts to uncover the limitations of the state-society paradigm in exploring the transformation of urban grassroots, and suggests understanding the increasingly fragmented grassroots from examining different actors who are embedded in a specific neighbourhood space and vary in their interests and goals.
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