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OnderzoekCentre for East Asian Studies Groningen

Lecture by prof. Dingxin ZHAO: Patterns and Logics of Protests in Post-Mao China

Wanneer:do 18-05-2017 om 15:00
Waar:Room A8, Academy Building

This talk argues that social movements and collective actions in post-Mao China have developed in three overlapping stages. The first stage, between 1976 and 1989, is characterized by the large-scale state-centered protests. The second stage covers the period roughly between 1992 and 2002. Protests of this period tend to be small-to-medium in size, local, and economic-oriented. Most protests of this period are also competitive and reactive rather than proactive in nature. The third stage started around 2002 and lasted until 2012. In this period, middle class protesters gained significant rights consciousness, protests turned increasingly proactive and grew a strong populist tendency, and many protests (particular the newly emerged online protests) have experienced a tendency of partial repoliticalization. The last stage seems to have taken several new characteristics: middle class right consciousness leveled off, politicalizing movement was shirking, online protest has lost its potency. And above all, the protesters have increasingly acted like "subjectizens" (a term coined to denote an attitude assuming characteristics of both traditional Chinese subjects and modern citizens). This talk provides an explanation to this pattern of development and speculates on the future trends of collective actions in China.

prof. Dingxin ZHAO
prof. Dingxin ZHAO


Dingxin ZHAO is Max Palevsky Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago and the National Thousand Talent Professor of Zhejiang University. He is also the director of the Center for Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences of Zhejiang University. His research covers the areas of historical sociology, social movements, nationalism, social change, and economic development. He has published an awards-winning book entitled Power of Tiananmen (2001).His most recent book The Confucian-Legalist State: A New Theory of Chinese History (2015) has been published by Oxford University Press, and won the best book of Political Sociology of American Sociological Association in 2016.