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Curbing the Power of Developers? Law and Power in Chinese and English Gated Urban Enclaves

Geoforum 47 (2013) 199–208

10 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2013  

Sarah Blandy

University of Sheffield - School of Law

Feng Wang

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics

Date Written: September 30, 2013

Abstract

This article contributes to the legal geography literature through exploration of the contested concepts of power and law and their interconnected processes. Research findings from studies of urban gated enclaves in China and in England are used as a starting point to analyse the spatialisation of power in the creation of gated urban enclaves, with a particular focus on the role of law. Four categories of law are identified. The article suggests an analytical framework for understanding how particular modalities of power intersect with these different types of law. This framework is then applied to temporal stages in the creation of gated enclaves, in the context of the different legal geographies of China and England. In the final analysis, the manipulative power of neoliberalism outweighs law’s authority, for example when developers form alliances with municipal government to circumvent ‘policy’ and ‘regulatory’ law. Property rights as conceptualised through ‘high’ law are shown to be ineffective in resolving problems experienced by residents of specific enclaves, particularly those relating to common property rights. Developers were found to use ‘facilitative’ law to gain control of the juridical field, materialised through property rights allocation and resolution of disputes within urban enclaves.

Keywords: Common property, Chinese gated urban enclaves, English gated urban enclaves, Legal geographies, Modalities of power, Types of law

Suggested Citation

Blandy, Sarah and Wang, Feng, Curbing the Power of Developers? Law and Power in Chinese and English Gated Urban Enclaves (September 30, 2013). Geoforum 47 (2013) 199–208. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2333465

Sarah Blandy

University of Sheffield - School of Law ( email )

Crookesmoor Building, Conduit Road
Sheffield S10 1FL
United Kingdom

Feng Wang (Contact Author)

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics ( email )

Shanghai, 200433
China

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