Contentious Politics in Contemporary China

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4
Section: 
1
Number: 
244D
CCN: 
71993
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Course Description: 

Much political behavior, particularly in countries like China, does not take place within institutionalized channels. The Party aggregates preferences poorly and the popular classes often become frustrated with existing opportunities for participation. Honest elections occur only at the lowest levels -- if at all -- and many forms of political activity are forbidden. In these circumstances, how do ordinary Chinese press for attention to their grievances and for a modicum of responsiveness? What are the likely consequences of the rising tide of popular contention for regime stability and for the development of a more complete citizenship? In this seminar, we will investigate how concepts employed to study social movements and collective action help (or fail to help!) us understand popular political action in post-Mao China. Substantively, we will examine various social groups (peasants, migrants, workers, ethnic minorities, women, students, Falungong, artists, and dissidents) to explore the dynamics of contention and the politics of repression and accommodation. Efforts will be made to draw on theoretical insights and empirical studies conducted by political scientists, sociologists, legal scholars, anthropologists, historians, and geographers.

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