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Mobilizing without the Masses
Control and Contention in China

$27.99 (G)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Contentious Politics

  • Date Published: November 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108430418

$ 27.99 (G)

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About the Authors
  • When advocacy organizations are forbidden from rallying people to take to the streets, what do they do? When activists are detained for coordinating protests, are their hands ultimately tied? Based on political ethnography inside both legal and blacklisted labor organizations in China, this book reveals how state repression is deployed on the ground and to what effect on mobilization. It presents a novel dynamic of civil society contention - mobilizing without the masses - that lowers the risk of activism under duress. Instead of facilitating collective action, activists coach the aggrieved to challenge authorities one by one. In doing so, they lower the risks of organizing while empowering the weak. This dynamic represents a third pathway of contention that challenges conventional understandings of mobilization in an illiberal state. It takes readers inside the world of underground labor organizing and opens the black box of repression inside the world's most powerful authoritarian state.

    • Explains a novel dynamic of mobilization under authoritarianism
    • Uses political ethnography to study hard to access organizations, including illegal ones
    • Offers a bottom-up, disaggregated approach to studying repression
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Diana Fu observes a unique form of mobilisation in China; that is, mobilisation without the masses and its assorted tactics. In other words, civil society organizations in China do mobilise. However, instead of mobilising, for example, the working class, activists target individuals or small groups by coaching them on how to confront the state. Fu highlights explanations for such a unique form. She also systematically identifies several key conditions under which civil society organizations could strike a balance between being obedient to the state and facilitating labor contention.' Yao-Tai Li, Social Movement Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108430418
    • length: 206 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 153 x 13 mm
    • weight: 0.34kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus. 7 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: organizing under duress
    Part I. Technologies of Control:
    2. Labor organizations in China
    3. Fragmented control
    4. Competitive control
    Part II. Coaching Contention:
    5. Micro-collective action
    6. Atomized action
    7. Discursive action 8. A political compromise? Appendix: political ethnography

  • Author

    Diana Fu, University of Toronto
    Diana Fu is Assistant Professor of Asian Politics at the University of Toronto. This book builds upon her dissertation research at the University of Oxford where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. Previously, she was a Walter H. Shorenstein Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University, California and a pre-doctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research has been supported by the Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation, the Chiang Ching Kuo Foundation, and the Rhodes Trust. Her academic articles have been published in Comparative Political Studies, Governance, and Modern China, among others. Her writing and research have appeared in The Economist, Foreign Affairs, The Washington Post, The Boston Review, PostGlobal, and Nicholas Kristof's 'On the Ground' Blog for The New York Times.

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