Rethinking the Transformation of State-owned Enterprises in North-east China in a globalized market

Miss Shuang Wu


This paper aims to take assemblage approach to describe the social-spatial formation of State-owned Enterprises (SOEs) in North-east (NE) China in contemporary globalized market. SOEs are industrial organizations owned by the state, which are of great significance in economic growth, social and political practices in China. They maintain dominant roles in NE region, the traditional industrial base, with large amounts and long histories. As China gradually opened to the global market since the launching of “Reform and Opening-up” policy, SOEs has encountered great challenges and experienced radical reforms. The contemporary globalized market not only starts a new epoch for SOE development but also indicates intense transformation for SOEs from all aspects. In this paper, assemblage thinking helps explain transformation of SOEs in NE through analyzing their changing social-spatial formation, in a relational, processual and affectual way. Employing a qualitative research method with grounded theory approach, this thesis investigates into the SOE social-spatial formation by workers’ discourses. Three concurrent processes in form of territorialization, deterritorialization and reterritorialization are exemplified in detail. Taking stability as the core expression, territorialization of SOE assemblage illustrates how SOEs stabilize their components and relations from past. Deterritorialization focuses on how stability is disrupted and transformed to the manifestation of mobility by the force of global market. Reterritorialization is shown as the restabilization of SOE assemblage in the global market from encounters between bodies and changes of relations. Above all, the assemblage approach to SOE transformation explores further about the potentials and possibilities of SOEs.


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