The cultivation of social consciousness in Chinese urban communities from the perspective of community governance : taking the community in Shandong as an example

  • Li Jie WANG

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (Lingnan)


The social consciousness of residents has been changing since China's reform and opening up. The grassroots governance of the society has also become more and more difficult. In the last decade, the Chinese government has been improving the level of social community governance, and since COVID-19 pandemic, the government has been strengthening democratic social governance. It has become very possible to cultivate social consciousness and democratic consciousness among the residents in the community. I conducted two rounds of questionnaires and three rounds of interviews in several communities in Shandong province.

I interviewed over 30 residents, visited a dozen communities, and distributed 1,314 questionnaires. By compiling and analyzing the studies of Cohen, Fei Xiaotong, Arnstein, Zhou Xueguang, Liu Jianjun, Pateman, and others, I determined to establish a research framework based on the breadth of community participation, the depth of community participation, and the social consciousness of democratic participation. The final research results were obtained with the help of quantitative analysis and interviews.

Through qualitative and quantitative analysis, I determined the basic situation of local social governance and also understood the relationship between participation in social governance and residents' social consciousness. I found that the traditional Chinese community complied with the basic situation of social governance and was an organic community. There is a positive relationship between residents' social consciousness and social participation, and residents' social participation and residents' social consciousness influence each other. The reason that residents' social consciousness does not fully match with their actual participation is that although residents' social consciousness is in place, they lack the corresponding ability and willingness to participate socially, and residents are not willing to actively participate in the governance of the community. Although residents do not realize that they are involved in community governance, they are actually not only participating, but they are also receiving some feedback and inculcation, which enhances their social participation ability. In addition, women play an important role in the governance of the community. The role of women was found to be very significant in the interviews. Through women in the community may be a breakthrough point for developing a sense of community among residents. This study aims to provide necessary recommendations for grassroots community governance in China, to help communities and societies improve and enhance their management practices and levels, and to provide a window for outsiders to observe Chinese communities.
Date of Award6 Sept 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Lingnan University
SupervisorYidan Daisy ZHU (Supervisor)

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