PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2019, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (3): 346-356.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2019.03.005

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The production and governance structure of enclave economy: From the perspective of state spatial restructuring

Luqi LI1(), Xueguang MA2,*(), Yu LU2   

  1. 1. School of Urban and Regional Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
    2. School of International Affairs and Public Administration, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266100, Shandong, China
  • Received:2018-05-24 Revised:2019-01-08 Online:2019-03-28 Published:2019-03-28
  • Contact: Xueguang MA;
  • Supported by:
    Natural Science Foundation of Shandong Province, No. ZR2018MD005;National Social Science Foundation of China, No. 18BJL092;Funding Project of Education of Ministry for the Development of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, No.17YJA630071.


The state space has undergone significant transformations in China since 2000, changing from urban entrepreneurialism to regionalization. In this context, enclave economy is emerging and developing in various regions, and has been studied by researchers in a range of fields. However, most of the existing studies focus on the microscopic mechanisms and modes, without more detailed analyses of the macroscopic and structural factors behind this phenomenon. Apparently, this approach is problematic because enclave economy is not only a grassroots strategy, but also an integral part of the spatial strategies at the national scale in recent years. Therefore, based on the theories of state spatial restructuring, this article analyzes how enclave economy is produced and what governance structures are formed in this process. It suggests that enclave economy is driven by the crisis of capital accumulation and the tendency of reterritorialization. In this context, it originates from bottom-up institutional experiments, and then becomes a flexible yet inadequate strategy of regionalization. Following this, due to the consistency between enclave economy and the evolution of state spatial selectivity, it is then integrated into China's state spatial strategies that focus on the competitiveness of city-regions. Moreover, the governance structure of enclave economy includes inter-scalar, inter-territorial, and government-market relations, which are contingent, complex, and relatively fragile. In sum, this practice should be viewed as an emerging experiment in the state spatial restructuring, whose effects and consequences remain to be seen.

Key words: enclave economy, co-development industrial parks, new state space, rescaling, regionalization, China