Social Value Chains: A New Organizational Framework for Studies on State-Society Relations in China

Jun Han, Ji Ma, Zhong Wang


In the past three decades, a large number of studies has emerged to conceptualize the changing state-society relations in China. Yet, little attention has been paid to what kinds of social sector organizations these competing and conflicting studies were empirically examining or based upon. No synergy of the organizational foundations of these studies results in deep fragmentation and weak generalization of the arguments on state-society relations in China. To address this issue, this article systematically reviews organizational bases of extant literature on Chinese state-society relations, and then constructs an inclusive organizational framework, namely “social value chains”, by combining two mainstream organizational forms in existing research along with two understudied organizational types, as a new framework to guide future research on state-society relations in China. Social value chains include four types of social sector organizations: infrastructure organizations, financial organizations, support organizations, and operating organizations. In the end, this paper points out the potential applications of this new framework in future research.




Social value chains; organizational framework; state-society relations; China

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