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Participation and Empowerment at the Grassroots: Chinese Village Elections in Perspective - Challenges Facing Chinese Political Development (Hardback)
  • Participation and Empowerment at the Grassroots: Chinese Village Elections in Perspective - Challenges Facing Chinese Political Development (Hardback)

Participation and Empowerment at the Grassroots: Chinese Village Elections in Perspective - Challenges Facing Chinese Political Development (Hardback)

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Hardback 242 Pages / Published: 19/04/2012
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This monograph ties in the scholarly debate on Chinese village elections and their consequences for China's political system. It draws on comparative fieldwork conducted in six villages in two counties in Jiangxi and Jilin Provinces and one district in Shenzhen between 2002 and 2005, producing data from some 140 in-depth interviews of villagers and local officials up to the prefectural level. The major objective of this book is as much a critical assessment of the research literature of Chinese village elections published over the last fifteen years as to sharpen the reader's sight for the scope and limits of this important reform to generate regime legitimacy in the local state, an issue which has so far been neglected in the study of Chinese village elections. It hence contributes to our understanding of the nexus between political participation and cadre accountability at the grassroots, and highlights a number of factors ensuring the persistence of one-party rule in contemporary China.

Publisher: Lexington Books
ISBN: 9780739174791
Number of pages: 242
Weight: 526 g
Dimensions: 237 x 158 x 22 mm

Since the first election took place in Hezhai Village in Guangxi Province in 1980, Chinese village elections have spread throughout the nation and become one of the most researched areas in the study of Chinese politics. Gunter Schubert and Anna L. Ahlers provide a rich and comprehensive discussion of this important topic. . . .This book makes an important contribution to our understanding of village elections and rural politics in China. * The China Journal *
[The authors] address a significant issue that has not been fairly and sufficiently treated - the impact of village elections on the political legitimacy of the Chinese party state. . . .[The authors present] by far one of the most comprehensive reviews of the existing academic literature on village elections. . . .This book offers an excellent review of the current status of the field, and presents some interesting findings and discussion on the impact of village elections on peasants' sense of empowerment and the state's political legitimacy. [The book is]. . . . a good selection for graduate students and scholars who are interested in studying rural politics in China. * Journal of Chinese Political Science *
This book makes a valuable contribution to understanding the impact of direct village elections on political attitudes and behavior and regime legitimacy in authoritarian states. ... [T]his is a wonderful addition to the study of political attitudes and behavior in the authoritarian context. Overall, this book provides some powerful empirical data and has several noteworthy strengths: It is informative, provides a succinct review of pertinent literature, offers several directions for future research, and includes Chinese provinces that are typically excluded from political analysis. This book also has a greater purpose of giving voice to ordinary Chinese in the political development process. This book is therefore important reading for anyone broadly interested in political development in modern authoritarian states. * Asian Politics & Policy *
Schubert and Ahlers give us the most comprehensive account of village elections yet available. Large, theoretical questions are examined alongside close-to-the ground case studies that show how grassroots democracy really operates. Written sources, surveys and interviews are skillfully marshaled to tell us a nuanced story about political participation, awareness and citizenship in China, as well as the role that limited, electoral reforms play in maintaining or undermining regime legitimacy. -- Kevin J. O'Brien, University of California, Berkeley
Based on a state-of-the-art literature review and solid case studies from three provinces, Schubert and Ahlers present a balanced discussion of the most pertinent questions relating to Chinese village elections. The book takes us beyond wishful thinking about China's democratization into the real-life experiences of villagers and cadres. -- Stig Thogersen, Department of Culture and Society, Aarhus University
This is a systematic and insightful study of village elections, whose far-reaching significance for democracy in China is hard to overestimate. The exhaustive and incisive review of the existing literature makes the book a must-read for undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in Chinese politics. In light of the recent Wukan Incident, in which thousands of villagers fought hard and ultimately won a battle to freely elect village leaders, the book comes at just the right time. Policy analysts, journalists and scholars will find in this slender volume rich, valuable and up-to-date information on how ordinary Chinese defend their rights by bravely and creatively using existing legal, social and political resources. -- Lianjiang Li, University of Hong Kong

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