Accepting Authoritarianism: State-Society Relations in China's Reform Era

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Stanford University Press, Mar 8, 2010 - Political Science - 264 pages
2 Reviews
Why hasn't the emergence of capitalism led China's citizenry to press for liberal democratic change? This book argues that China's combination of state-led development, late industrialization, and socialist legacies have affected popular perceptions of socioeconomic mobility, economic dependence on the state, and political options, giving citizens incentives to perpetuate the political status quo and disincentives to embrace liberal democratic change.

Wright addresses the ways in which China's political and economic development shares broader features of state-led late industrialization and post-socialist transformation with countries as diverse as Mexico, India, Tunisia, Indonesia, South Korea, Brazil, Russia, and Vietnam.

With its detailed analysis of China's major socioeconomic groups (private entrepreneurs, state sector workers, private sector workers, professionals and students, and farmers), Accepting Authoritarianism is an up-to-date, comprehensive, and coherent text on the evolution of state-society relations in reform-era China.


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User Review  - HadriantheBlind - LibraryThing

A former tenet of modern economic theory was that with capitalism and prosperity, democracy must inevitably follow. China appears to buck the trend, combining aspects of both authoritarianism and ... Read full review

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This is a must-read for anyone who wants to better understand how China has remained politically stable under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party in spite of the dramatic changes in economy and society over the past 20 years. Wright does something very few scholars in political science are likely to do: parse "society" into discrete groups, and then assess the range of interests and values that prompt these groups to generally opt for the political status quo. For students of China, Wright provides the most compelling answer to date for why the Huntington's famous "gap hypothesis" has not been borne out in the case of China, where there is relatively low clamoring for system change in spite of growing inequality and sudden shifts in economic fortune for various strats in society For students of Russia and East-Central Europe, who have been surprised that post-communist transitions did not bring greater protest and increased civil-society mobilization, this book may have important insights and intuitions. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the social-scientific analysis of China, of post-communist transitions, of democratization and of comparative political economy writ large. 


1 Introduction
2 Private Entrepreneurs
3 Professionals
4 RankandFile State Sector Workers
5 RankandFile Private Sector Workers
6 Farmers
7 Conclusion

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About the author (2010)

Teresa Wright is Professor of Political Science at California State University, Long Beach. She is also the author of The Perils of Protest: State Repression and Student Activism in China.

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