Journal of Chinese Political Science

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 1–17 | Cite as

The Tension Between Governance and State-Building

Research Article


In this article we probe the tension between governance and state-building. Governance stresses diversification, reflexive rationality, heterarchic interaction, negotiation and coordination, whereas state-building emphasizes centralization, procedural rationality, hierarchic order, control and regulation. Despite the conflict resulting from the differences between their respective essences, there is some blending between the two. On the one hand, the process of state-building is simultaneous with the process of the establishment of civil rights and democracy. On the other hand, a strong state is needed to provide the footstone for governance because of the risks associated with governance failure and the necessity of meta-governance. Such conflicts and blendings construct the tension and dialectic between governance and state building. With respect to the functioning of this dialectic, it is necessary to keep such tension rightly based on the rule of law.


Governance Meta-Governance State Building Centralization Decentralization 


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Copyright information

© Journal of Chinese Political Science/Association of Chinese Political Studies 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The College of Public AdministrationZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina

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