Department of Geography and Resource Management (GRM), The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Research Collaborations

How Can the Dragon Soar? An Interdisciplinary Approach to China’s Post-Reform Dialectics of State, Market and Space

Prof. XU Jiang



Name:  Dept./CUHK
PI: XU Jiang (XJ)
Department of Geography and Resource Management, CUHK
Co-I: YIU Daphne Wing-yee (YD)
Department of Management, CUHK
Co-I: CHEUNG Chi-keung Alan (CA)

Department of Education Administration and Policy, CUHK

Co-I: CHUNG Calvin King Lam (CC)

Department of Geography and Resource Management, CUHK
(from Aug 2018: MSSc Programme in Global Political Economy, CUHK)

Co-I: YEH Anthony Gar On (YA)

Department of Urban Planning and Design, The University of Hong Kong (HKU)

Academician, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Co-I: WANG James Jixian (WJ)

Department of Management Sciences, City University of Hong Kong (CityU)

Co-I: YE Lin (YL)
School of Government, Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU)
Co-I: GUAN Hongling (GH)
Center for Studies of Hong Kong, Macao and Pearl River Delta, SYSU
Co-I: LI Xiaoying (LX)

Center for Studies of Hong Kong, Macao and Pearl River Delta, SYSU

Project period:

June 30, 2019 to June 30, 2021

Funding source:

China Studies Area Seed Grant Proposal (2019-2020)

Funded amount:



From Friedman and Friedman’s (1980) celebration of being ‘free to choose’ to Fukuyama’s (2004: ix) opposition to ‘cutting back the state’, scholars have successively attempted to solve the puzzle of how state and market can be best coupled to promote or/and regulate economic development. Whilst insightful, their works tend to provide only individual pieces of this puzzle. Scholars often presuppose the particular point of entry enshrined by their root discipline as the endogenous variable of economic development, while treating the concerns of other fields as exogenous variables. Notably, three disciplines – ‘government and politics’, ‘business and economics’, and ‘geography and planning’ – have respectively advanced state-centric, market-centric and space-centric approaches to analyse state-market relations (SMR) (ibid; see also Section 4). They obscure the potential reciprocality between their respective entry points. Their arguments are also varied by their levels of abstractions (e.g. conceiving the market as a collective vs. individual firms).


This project advocates an interdisciplinary dialectical approach to SMR. Rather than privileging any one of them (and the disciplinary approaches privileging them), we contend that state, market and space are theoretically of equal importance and ‘dialectically related’ Each constituent of this triad, though different, is not fully separate from others. Each internalises the influence from others without being reducible to any of them. This approach necessitates a synthesis of knowledge across disciplines, which analyses the interplay of this triad in different casual directions (e.g. state affects space vs. vice versa) and levels of abstractions.