Civil Society under Authoritarianism

Civil Society under Authoritarianism : The China Model

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Despite the dominant narrative of the repression of civil society in China, Civil Society under Authoritarianism: The China Model argues that interactions between local officials and civil society facilitate a learning process, whereby each actor learns about the intentions and work processes of the other. Over the past two decades, often facilitated by foreign donors and problems within the general social framework, these interactions generated a process in which officials learned the benefits and disadvantages of civil society. Civil society supports local officials' efforts to provide social services and improve public policies, yet it also engages in protest and other activities that challenge social stability and development. This duality motivates local officials in China to construct a 'social management' system - known as consultative authoritarianism - to encourage the beneficial aspects and discourage the dangerous ones.show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 4 b/w illus.
  • 1139898957
  • 9781139898959

Table of contents

Introduction. Civil society in China: better governance under authoritarianism; 1. Policy learning in China: constructing consultative authoritarianism; 2. Let many civil societies bloom: building consultative authoritarianism in Beijing and Yunnan; 3. Converging on consultative authoritarianism: civil society development in Jiangsu and Sichuan; 4. Civil society strategies in China: creating opportunities for learning; Conclusion. Illiberal wave: the international diffusion of consultative authoritarianism.show more

About Jessica C. Teets

Jessica C. Teets is an Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department and Jeanne Epp Barksdale '48 Junior Faculty Fellow at Middlebury College, Vermont. Her research focuses on governance in authoritarian regimes - specifically the role of civil society such as non-profits, NGOs, and associations - with an emphasis on Chinese politics. She is the author, most recently, of 'Let Many Civil Societies Bloom: The Rise of Consultative Authoritarianism in China' (The China Quarterly, 2013) and 'Reforming Service Delivery in China: The Emergence of a Social Innovation Model' (Journal of Chinese Political Science, 2012). Dr Teets was recently selected to participate in the Public Intellectuals Program created by the National Committee on United States-China Relations.show more

Review quote

'China has become the mega enigma of the global economy. Using a new model of 'consultative authoritarianism', Jessica Teets shows us how Chinese rulers and civil society organizations mutually learn from one another through their interactions, so that domestic institutions become more adaptive and less fragile over time. Teets has given us a new and powerful explanation for the durability of authoritarianism in general, and the dynamism of China in particular, that suggests those holding their breath for Western-style democracy to inevitably emerge in China may remain blue in the face for a long time to come.' Mark Blyth, Brown University 'Professor Jessica Teets has written an important book, with significant theoretical and policy implications. Using case studies undertaken in China and drawing on global comparative literature, Teets argues that there may be a more effective path to achieving good governance than the civil society-regime adversary model adopted by many in the West. Dr Teets calls it 'consultative authoritarianism', a process in which an authoritarian regime and civil society organizations mutually influence one another through a process of learning. Although this thesis is sure to be controversial to some, many adversarial-democracy promotion efforts around the world have reached, to date, illiberal dead ends. Teets begins the new thinking that is required if we are to find a better way to positive, gradual, and constructive change.' David M. Lampton, Hyman Professor and Director of China Studies, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studiesshow more

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