Ideological Reform and Political Legitimacy in China: Challenges in the Post-Jiang Era

GIGA Working Paper No 18

36 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2006 Last revised: 16 Aug 2012

See all articles by Heike Holbig

Heike Holbig

GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies

Date Written: March 1, 2006

Abstract

As a Socialist country undergoing rapid social and economic transition, China presents a revealing case study on the role of ideology in the process of institutional change. Based on Douglass North's theory of institutional change and on David Beetham's theory of political legitimation, this paper argues that recent ideological reforms have been a crucial factor in sustaining the legitimacy of Communist party rule. Ideological change is conceived as a path-dependent process which helps to stabilize the social perception of transition and to frame the party's modernization achievements. At the same time, the dominant role of ideology makes the Chinese party-state, despite its economic success, more vulnerable to legitimacy crises compared to other authoritarian regimes.

Keywords: Institutional change, political legitimacy, ideology, Socialism, Communism, China

Suggested Citation

Holbig, Heike, Ideological Reform and Political Legitimacy in China: Challenges in the Post-Jiang Era (March 1, 2006). GIGA Working Paper No 18. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=909186 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.909186

Heike Holbig (Contact Author)

GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies ( email )

Neuer Jungfernstieg 21
Hamburg, DE D-20354
Germany

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