Studying Contention in Contemporary China

POPULAR PROTEST IN CHINA, Kevin J. O'Brien, ed., pp. 11-25, 219-25, Harvard University Press, 2008

31 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2008 Last revised: 31 May 2012

See all articles by Kevin J. O'Brien

Kevin J. O'Brien

University of California, Berkeley - Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science

Rachel E. Stern

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Jurisprudence & Social Policy; University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law

Date Written: July 7, 2007

Abstract

Do ideas drawn from the social movement literature travel well once we leave the democratic West? Research on protest in contemporary China shows that familiar concepts can be applied to China, and can also modify or question ideas that do not square with the realities of an authoritarian, non-western state. To this point, the biggest payoffs of studying popular contention in China have been: new ways of thinking about political opportunities, mobilizing structures, and framing. There remain three important gaps, however, in the study of Chinese collective action, all of which are places where future research can contribute to the understandings of contentious politics: 1) activism and the upwardly mobilie, 2) international influences, and 3) repression.

Keywords: China, protest, contention, social movements, collective action, opportunities, framing, mobilizing structures

Suggested Citation

O'Brien, Kevin J. and Stern, Rachel E., Studying Contention in Contemporary China (July 7, 2007). POPULAR PROTEST IN CHINA, Kevin J. O'Brien, ed., pp. 11-25, 219-25, Harvard University Press, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1104748

Kevin J. O'Brien (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science ( email )

210 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Rachel E. Stern

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Jurisprudence & Social Policy ( email )

School of Law
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-2150
United States

University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law

Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

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