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date: 21 April 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This article first examines the new criteria by which medieval Chinese cities came to be defined and then traces this redefinition back to the commercialization of local and regional economies. It outlines the expansion and diversification of urban society that accompanied economic and demographic growth and then turns to the transformation of urban space, one of the most visible markers of the adaptation of state power to urban life. It shows that the various types of cities (capital, maritime, garrison, and provincial) supported the administrative structure of the empire. They did so, however, not because they were replicas of the ideal imperial city, but because the interaction of central and local governments and diverse social groups resulted in socio-economic changes and the expansion of cultural production in and about the city that allowed for both urban specificity and empire-wide integration.

Keywords: medieval Chinese cities, commercialization, local economy, regional economy, urban society, urban space, imperial city, socio-economic changes, cultural production

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