Political participation and transformation in urban China, 1993 and 2002
My dissertation examines political participation in non-democratic countries. Specifically, it looks into China's urban political participation in the past decade and examines how Chinese urban citizens are mobilized to participate in politics when an authoritarian regime has been experiencing dramatic economic change. The theoretic question of this dissertation is the evolvement of state-society relations during the economic development and how the change of the state-society relationship is reflected in individual behavior. I found that while the social context such as the workplace served as fundamental grassroots institution to mobilize citizens' political participation in the early 1990s, China's urban political participation has shifted to lean more and more on individual resources. Political participation in non-democratic regimes is a unique and rapidly developing field in the studies of political behavior. Scholars studying citizens' political participation in USSR and China have long noted that political participation in an authoritarian regime is mobilized and controlled by the state and citizens are organized by the state to participate in politics to provide for regime legitimacy. In the dissertation I tested this paradigm within the context of China's economic development. The data I employ are the 1993 China's Social Mobility and Social Change Survey and the 2002 Asian Barometer Survey. Both data sets contain highly congruent batteries of questions on citizens' political behavior and political attitudes that provide the basis of comparison across time. The data sets were collected across China in 1993 and 2002 respectively representing the population of adult residents (excluding Tibet). The comparison of urban political participation in the past decade exhibited a general and measurable decline of citizens' participation in the economic reform. I found Chinese citizens' political participation has shifted largely from the pattern of "grassroots-state-mobilization" to "individual-voluntary-mobilization" during the economic reform. I argue that this is largely resulted from the change of state-society relations as individual citizens are granted with more autonomy in political liberalization and become less dependent on the state for economic sources.
Lou, Diqing (2008). Political participation and transformation in urban China, 1993 and 2002. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from