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Social Theory, China and Global Social Development


Assistant Professor

PhD (Oxford)
MPhil (Oxford)



2766 5725



Politics of China

Rural political economy

Land politics and urbanization

Local governance



Global China

Social Problems and Social Issues in Contemporary China

Comparative Social Policy and Social Development

Social Policy Analysis and Social Accountability



Karita Kan is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Applied Social Sciences, Hong Kong Polytechnic University. She received her DPhil and MPhil in Politics from the University of Oxford. Her research explores rural transformation in post-socialist China, with a focus on urbanization and the politics of land and property. She is also interested in state-society relations and grassroots governance in contemporary China. Her publications have appeared in The China Quarterly, China Journal, China Information, Journal of Rural Studies, Geoforum, Urban Studies and International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, among others.


Karita is a Research Associate at the French Centre for Research on Contemporary China, and an editorial committee member for China Perspectives. She is also a management committee member of China Research and Development Network.


Research Grants 

  • Principal Investigator, Collectives and Cooperatives in Rural China: Agrarian Change and Community Economy in Guangdong Province, General Research Fund, Hong Kong Research Grants Council, 2019-2021.
  • Principal Investigator, Rural Transformation and Institutional Change in South China: A Comparative Study of Rural Land and Shareholding Reforms, Early Career Scheme, Hong Kong Research Grants Council, 2018-2020.
  • Principal Investigator, Food Politics and Activism in Taiwan: Discourse, Actors and Processes, Department General Research Fund, Department of Applied Social Sciences, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 2017-2019.
  • Principal Investigator, The Political Economy of Agricultural Investments in East Asia: The Role of China, Department Start-up Grant, Department of Applied Social Sciences, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 2016-2019.
  • Principal Investigator, Urbanization and Governance in reform China: A study of the Pearl River Delta cities, College Research Grant, Centennial College, 2015-2016.


Recent Publications

  • Kan, Karita and Ku, Hok Bun. (2020). Serving the people, building the Party: Social organizations and Party work in China's urban villages. China Journal  [Link]
  • Kan, Karita. (2020). Creating land markets for rural revitalization: Land transfer, property rights and gentrification in China. Journal of Rural Studies  [Link]
  • Kan, Karita. (2020). The social politics of dispossession: Informal institutions and land expropriation in China. Urban Studies, doi: 10.1177/0042098019897880. [Link]
  • Kan, Karita. (2020). Building SoHo in Shenzhen: The territorial politics of gentrification and state making in China. Geoforum 111, 1-10. [Link]
  • Ku, Hok Bun and Kan, Karita. (2020). Social work and sustainable rural development: The practice of social economy in China. International Journal of Social Welfare, doi: 10.1111/ijsw.12422 [Link]
  • Kan, Karita. (2019). Accumulation without dispossession? Land commodification and rent extraction in peri-urban China. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 43(4), 633-648. [Link]
  • Kan, Karita. (2019). A weapon of the weak? Shareholding, property rights and villager empowerment in rural China. The China Quarterly 237, 131-152. [Link]
  • Kan, Karita. (2019). Contours and challenges of rural change in transition economies: The case of China. In Mark Scott, Nick Gallent and Menelaos Gkartzios (eds.), Routledge Companion to Rural Planning. London and New York: Routledge.
  • Kan, Karita, and Wong, Rebecca W. Y. (2019). Gated villages: Community governance and social order in peri-urban China. In Ray Yep, Jun Wang and Thomas Johnson (eds.), Handbook on Urban Development in China. Cheltenham and Northampton: Edward Elgar, 248-261.
  • Kan, Karita and Yuen, Samson. (2018). Visceral politics across the Strait: Food and risk in China-Taiwan relations. China Information, 32(3), 443-462. [Link]
  • Kan, Karita. (2018). The (geo)politics of land and foreign real estate investment in China: The case of Hong Kong FDI. In Dallas Rogers and Sin Yee Koh (eds.), The Globalization of Real Estate: The Politics and Practice of Foreign Real Estate Investment, 35-55. London and New York: Routledge.
  • Kan, Karita. (2018). Book review: The geopolitics of real estate: Reconfiguring property, capital and rights, by Dallas Rogers. Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, doi: 10.1007/s10901-018-9635-0.
  • Kan, Karita. (2017). The (geo)politics of land and foreign real estate investment in China: The case of Hong Kong FDI. International Journal of Housing Policy 17(1), 35-55. [Link]
  • Kan, Karita. (2016). The transformation of the village collective in urbanizing China: A historical institutional analysis. Journal of Rural Studies 47, 588-600. [Link]