Villagers and Popular Resistance in Contemporary China

Modern China, Vol. 22, No. 1, January 1996

34 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2008

See all articles by Lianjiang Li

Lianjiang Li

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - Faculty of Social Science

Kevin J. O'Brien

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

Abstract

Using interviews with peasants and cadres in North China, compliant villagers (shunmin), recalcitrants (dingzihu), and policy-based resisters (diaomin) are distinguished by reference to their resistance routines (or lack of resistance). Compared to both violent acts and "everyday forms of resistance," policy-based resistance is typically less risky and more effective, because its practitioners employ beneficial central policies to defy local leaders who they believe have ignored or violated these policies. Acting under the sufferance of authorities at higher levels and within the rubric of prevailing political values and norms, policy-based resisters occupy an intermediate position between subjects and citizens. Moreover, their active pursuit of policy-based (sometimes proactive) claims may indicate the growth of rights consciousness in the Chinese countryside.

Keywords: China, protest, rural, contention

JEL Classification: K40, K49, 054, P33

Suggested Citation

Li, Lianjiang and O'Brien, Kevin J., Villagers and Popular Resistance in Contemporary China. Modern China, Vol. 22, No. 1, January 1996, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1119299

Lianjiang Li (Contact Author)

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - Faculty of Social Science ( email )

Hong Kong

Kevin J. O'Brien

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

210 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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