China's Embedded Activism
Opportunities and constraints of a social movement
Edited by Peter Ho, Richard Edmonds
Routledge – 2008 – 288 pages
In recent years China has been remarkable in achieving extraordinary economic transformation, yet without fundamental political change. To many observers this would seem to imply a weakness in Chinese civil society. However, though the idea of democracy as multitudes of citizens taking to the streets may be attractive, it is simultaneously misleading as it disregards the nature of political change taking place in China today: a gradual shift towards a polity adapted to a pluralist society. At the same time, one may wonder what the limited political space implies for the development of a social movement in China. This book explores this question by focusing on one of the most active areas of Chinese civil society: the environment.
China’s Embedded Activism argues that China’s semi-authoritarian limitations on the freedom of association and speech, coupled with increased social spaces for civic action has created a milieu in which activism occurs in an embedded fashion. The semi-authoritarian atmosphere is restrictive of, but paradoxically, also conducive to nationwide, collective action with less risk of social instability and repression at the hand of the governing elite.
Rich in case studies about environmental civic organizations in China, and written by a team of international experts on social movements, NGOs, democratization, and civil society, this book addresses a wide readership of students, scholars and professionals interested in development, geography and environment, political change, and contemporary Chinese society.
'China's Embedded Activism is another important effort in making sense of the changes that are taking place in China' - Zhengxu Wang. The China Quarterly, 196, December 2008
1: Introduction: Embedded Activism and Political Change in a Semi-Authoritarian Context
2. Self-imposed Censorship and De-politicized Politics in China: Green Activism or a Color Revolution?
3: Corporatist Control of Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations: A State Perspective
Jiang Ru and Leonard Ortolano
4: "Of Seven Mouths and Eight Tongues": Media, Civil Society, and the Rise of a Green Public Sphere
Craig Calhoun and Guobin Yang
5: Grassland Campaigns during the Collective Era: Socialist Politics and Local Strategies in Uxin Ju
6: Channeling Dissent: The Institutionalization of Environmental Complaint Resolution
7: Not Against the State, Just Protecting Residents’ Interests: An Urban Movement in a Shanghai Neighborhood
Jiangang Zhu and Peter Ho
8: Caged by Boundaries? NGO Cooperation at the Sino-Russian Border
Yanfei Sun and Maria Tysiachniouk
9: Transnational Advocacy at the Grassroots: Benefits and Risks of International Cooperation
10. Perspectives of Time and Change: Rethinking Embedded Green Activism in China
Peter Ho and Richard Louis Edmonds
Richard Louis Edmonds is Visiting Professor in the Geographical Studies Program and Member, Center for East Asian Studies, University of Chicago.
Peter Ho is Professor in International Development Studies and Director of the Centre for Development Studies (CDS), University of Groningen