Politics and International Relations
The state’s infrastructural power has been viewed as a crucial factor that accounts for its strengths and weaknesses. Scholars have elaborated the concept in terms of the state’s capabilities, the effects of the state on society, and the state’s territorial reach. However, previous studies on infrastructural power have assumed that the state being examined was Weberian, with formal bureaucratic structures from which power is derived and exercised. Using China’s “stability maintenance” apparatuses as a case in point, this study explores a new format for infrastructural power, termed the “local state adhocracy.” Configured through the state’s reordering of institutional and social resources but operating outside the formal bureaucratic structure, the local state adhocracy generates new capability of the state to control and penetrate society. While providing local governments with flexible means of conflict management, the local state adhocracy has undermined the rule of law and the institutionalization of state power.