Pushing the Envelope for Representation and Participation: the case of homeowner activism in Beijing
This article discusses the evolution of urban homeowner activism in two senses: internally (growth through internal diversity) and externally (advancement in interaction with the state). The combination of these two aspects has directed the activism toward the expansion of its boundaries, as well as advanced representation and participation. Based on cumulative fieldwork carried out since 2007, I discuss two homeowner organizations in Beijing as core cases. Rights activism by homeowners has grown beyond the state-set boundaries of individual neighborhoods and has begun deploying innovative strategies and adapting existing institutions for its own use. Rights awareness and manifestation by social actors has evolved continuously. This evolution suggests the emergence of a complex interplay between state and society which goes beyond a confrontational or lopsided relationship.