A Path for Chinese Civil Society

A Path for Chinese Civil Society : A Case Study on Industrial Associations in Wenzhou, China

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This book combines empirical research and theoretical discussions to demonstrate that the civil society paradigm as a western concept could be applicable to the study of state-society relations in contemporary China. However, the growth of Chinese civil society does not necessarily present an adversarial or confrontational relationship between state and society, but rather it is a cooperative relationship based on common interests and mutual benefits between industrial associations and local governments. The findings of this research confirm that, in contrast to the conventional civil society model in Western and Eastern Europe, where civic organizations are independent of the state, challenging the state hegemony, Chinese civic organizations, however, still lack autonomy and even remain closely linked to the state, but they are growing and expanding their public space and important role in public affairs through active participation. This non-western path for civil society development is a precise reflection of reality that is profoundly shaped and constrained by Chinese institutional, sociological, and cultural context. Through close investigation into the industrial, organizational, and social governance of industrial associations in Wenzhou and in-depth analysis of their challenges and developments within the institutional context, this book provides fresh empirical evidence and insightful analysis of how industrial associations have actively participated in local industrial governance and conduct of public affairs, gained greater space for their development, and become indispensable partners of local government in social governance.show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text | 222 pages
  • Lexington Books
  • MD, United States
  • tables, graphs
  • 0739170082
  • 9780739170083

About Jianxing Yu

Jianxing Yu is professor of political science and public administration, Associate Dean of the College of Public Administration, Director of the Institute for Civil Society Development (ICSD), and Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Studies at Zhejiang University. Jun Zhou is associate professor of public administration and general secretary of Institute for Civil Society Development (ICSD) at Zhejiang University.Hua Jiang is professor and associate dean of the School of Business at Wenzhou University.show more

Review quote

This book adds fresh material to the discussion on the development of a specific 'Chinese' civil society taking business associations in Wenzhou as a case study. In defining civil society the authors differ from the 'western' concept of the emerging of autonomous social spheres confronting the state. Civil society is rather defined as the emergence of a public sphere beyond the party-state which nevertheless takes places in the shadow of state hierarchy, exhibiting strong interweavings with the state. Undoubtly, developments such as in Wenzhou may be forerunners but other areas are following and learning rapidly. It is surely a welcomed phenomenon that Chinese scholars increasingly present their research findings in English thus enhancing discourses among civil society researchers across cultures and political systems. The book shows convincingly: there is not only one distinct pattern of civil society existing across the world but rather multiple patterns coined by very different cultural, social and political conditions.--Thomas Heberer, University Duisburg-Essen and Zhejiang Universityshow more