Social Cleavages and War Mobilization in Qing China

50 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2020 Last revised: 13 Apr 2021

See all articles by Soumyajit Mazumder

Soumyajit Mazumder

Harvard University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Government

Yuhua Wang

Department of Government, Harvard University

Date Written: April 13, 2021

Abstract

We analyze the conditions under which a country’s social structure facilitates or impedes the state’s mobilization of financial resources during civil conflict. Our argument emphasizes the ways in which the central state can divide and conquer social groups in order to empower the state. When social groups cannot solve their coordination problems, they are more likely to rely on the state to protect themselves. We test our theory in the context of the Taiping Rebellion – one of the largest and bloodiest internal conflicts documented in history – using fine-grained, archival data from late imperial China. We show that counties with more clans were more likely to donate to the central state rather than to private militia. Our findings highlight the importance of social structure in facilitating state war mobilization and help understand the Chinese state – a useful, yet understudied, counterpoint to the Euro-centric literature.

Keywords: Social cleavages; war mobilization; state-society relations; civil conflict; China

Suggested Citation

Mazumder, Soumyajit and Wang, Yuhua, Social Cleavages and War Mobilization in Qing China (April 13, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3622309 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3622309

Soumyajit Mazumder

Harvard University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Government ( email )

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Yuhua Wang (Contact Author)

Department of Government, Harvard University ( email )

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://scholar.harvard.edu/yuhuawang/home

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