Political Reliability and the Chinese Bar Exam

28 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2016

See all articles by Rachel E. Stern

Rachel E. Stern

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

Date Written: December 2016

Abstract

This article uses the case of contemporary China to explore an understudied type of political socialization: the bar exam. Content analysis of 3,996 exam questions from 2002–2014 shows a turning point in the mid‐2000s, when the test became explicitly political. The newly political exam is now a site of political learning where tomorrow's lawyers, judges, and prosecutors perform loyalty by exchanging politically correct answers for points. Viewed from this perspective, the Chinese bar exam has much in common with demands for public displays of correct behaviour in other authoritarian states. This adds a fresh, political layer to our understanding of whose interests bar exams serve, and why they take the form they do.

Suggested Citation

Stern, Rachel E., Political Reliability and the Chinese Bar Exam (December 2016). Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 43, Issue 4, pp. 506-533, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2864690 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jols.12001

Rachel E. Stern (Contact Author)

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 Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law Study Group

Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

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