Research Project D5 project analyses the provision of two basic public goods, food supply and security, in the Guangdong province of southern China between the years 1912 and 1928. Within this framework, we concentrate on modes of action, legitimacy issues, and local processes of accommodation and resistance with respect to governance practices and discourses. We assume that despite disintegration at the central state level and unstable political circumstances in Guangdong, food supply and security were guaranteed at the provincial and local levels through the emergence and consolidation of certain governance forms. We further argue that while forms of rigorous hierarchic steering could hardly be enforced, discursive steering via competing “old” (Confucianism) and “new” (socialism, nationalism) worldviews gained prominence. Our research consists of comparing case studies and contextualizing them on the provincial level.