"We are the State": An entrepreneurial mission to serve the people in Harbin, Northeast China

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How can we explain market actors' desire to use the state as a model for their entrepreneurial efforts? This article examines the varied and uneven ways in which the state is mimicked and appropriated by China's market actors in the health care sector. A massage franchiser, which doubles as a job-training center in Harbin, serves as an ethnographic instance. By invoking a scene where the persistent appeal to the state is bound up with volatile market activities, this article intends to disrupt the prevailing notions of the state-market binary. The murky encounter between "the state"and "the market"does more than merely reflect the persistent power of the so-called "authoritarian"state. By examining how the state-market complex is made and also severed by market participants who appeared at first to represent "the state,"this article underlines the precarious and patchy nature of state centrality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)422-455
Number of pages34
JournalModern China
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jul 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science

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