Rightful Resistance Revisited

Journal of Peasant Studies Vol. 40, No. 6 (2013), Forthcoming

25 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2012 Last revised: 21 Jul 2013

See all articles by Kevin J. O'Brien

Kevin J. O'Brien

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

Date Written: October 10, 2012

Abstract

James Scott (1985) placed ‘everyday forms of resistance’ between quiescence and rebellion. Others have noted that defiance in unpromising circumstances need not be quiet, disguised and anonymous if the aggrieved use the language of power to mitigate the risks of confrontation. How does ‘rightful resistance’ (O’Brien and Li 2006) relate to Scott's everyday resistance and other types of protest in contemporary China? Are rightful resisters sincere or strategic? Is their contention reactive or proactive? Does rightful resistance suggest growing rights consciousness or only a familiar rules consciousness? Rightful Resistance in Rural China has been criticized for lacking ‘peasantness’, shortchanging history and culture, focusing on elite allies and one pattern of protest, and being overly rationalist, state-centric and caught in ‘developmental thinking’. How do I respond?

Keywords: protest, contention, China, rightful resistance, rights consciousness, everyday resistance, proactive, reactive

JEL Classification: K40, K42, N45, P29, P39

Suggested Citation

O'Brien, Kevin J., Rightful Resistance Revisited (October 10, 2012). Journal of Peasant Studies Vol. 40, No. 6 (2013), Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2177509 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2177509

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

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