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Becoming Activists in Global China
Social Movements in the Chinese Diaspora


  • Date Published: April 2022
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108716017

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About the Authors
  • Becoming Activists in Global China is the first purely sociological study of the religious movement Falun Gong and its resistance to the Chinese state. The literature on Chinese protest has intensively studied the 1989 democracy movement while largely ignoring opposition by Falun Gong, even though the latter has been more enduring. This comparative study explains why the Falun Gong protest took off in diaspora and the democracy movement did not. Using multiple methods, Becoming Activists in Global China explains how Falun Gong's roots in proselytizing and its ethic of volunteerism provided the launch pad for its political mobilization. Simultaneously, diaspora democracy activists adopted practices that effectively discouraged grassroots participation. The study also shows how the policy goal of eliminating Falun Gong helped shape today's security-focused Chinese state. Explaining Falun Gong's two decades of protest illuminates a suppressed piece of Chinese contemporary history and advances our knowledge of how religious and political movements intersect.

    • Provides a cogent and insightful understanding of the religious movement Falun Gong
    • Offers a new explanation of how and why the diaspora Chinese democracy failed to sustain protest mobilization after the events of 1989
    • Examines Falun Gong and the Chinese democracy movement as contentious politics, illuminating Chinese cultural sources and limits for democracy
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Junker's incisive analysis of the two largest and most organized citizen movements in China's reform era - Falun Gong and the post-1989 democracy movement - is an invaluable resource for scholars of contentious politics and state-society relations, as well as those seeking to understand the direction of politics within the overseas Chinese diaspora.' Carl Minzner, Fordham University School of Law, New York

    'Becoming Activists in Global China is an extraordinarily interesting book. Employing impressive hermeneutic skills, Junker comes up with one eye-popping cultural interpretation after another. These empirical discoveries serve Junker's broader, theoretical ambition, which is to demonstrate that shared meanings - what he terms 'in-group culture' - play a much more consequential role in the formation of social movements than previous sociological thinking has allowed.' Jeffrey C. Alexander, Lillian Chavenson Saden Professor of Sociology, Yale University, Connecticut

    'An excellent book, meticulously researched, clearly written, and theoretically path-breaking.' David A. Palmer, author of Qigong Fever: Body, Science and Utopia in China

    'The book is methodologically solid, empirically nuanced, and theoretically provocative. Each page is an intellectually rewarding experience.' Rongbin Han, Mobilization

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2022
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108716017
    • length: 230 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • contains: 10 b/w illus. 4 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Thinking Comparatively:
    1. Protest made in global China
    2. Comparing Falun Gong and Minyun as movements
    3. The forgotten importance of Falun Gong
    Part II. The Cases:
    4. Falun Gong: Qigong fad, new religion, protest movement
    5. Falun Gong's history of 'stepping forward'
    6. Overseas Minyun: democracy through bureaucracy, factionalism, and asylum brokering
    Part III. Making Social Movements in Diaspora
    7. Publics, proselytizing, and protest: tactical repertoires compared
    8. Clarifying truth and saving souls
    9. Conclusion.

  • Author

    Andrew Junker, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
    Andrew Junker is Adjunct Assistant Professor in Sociology at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He earned a Ph.D. from Yale University, Connecticut, where his research was awarded Yale's annual Sussman Award for best sociology dissertation. He is also a recipient of a National Science Foundation grant and a University of Chicago Harper Fellowship.

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