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
Date Written: July 7, 2007
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
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