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Protest leadership and repertoire : a comparative analysis of peasant protest in Hunan in the 1990s

Protestführung und -repertoire : eine vergleichende Analyse der Bauernproteste in Hunan in den 1990ern
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Zhang, Wu

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Abstract Based on detailed ethnographic fieldwork, this paper compares two cases of peasant protest against heavy taxes and fees in a northern Hunan county in the 1990s. It argues that peasant protest did not arise spontaneously. Rather, it erupted when leaders emerged who used central policy documents on lowering peasant taxes and fees to mobilise peasants. Protest leaders were articulate and public-spirited peasants who had received political training from the local party-state. Furthermore, the number of leaders, their education level, and their relationship with the local party-state explain why the repertoire and the scope of the two protests varied. Protests led by less educated veteran Communist Party cadres tended to be milder and smaller than those led by better-educated peasants more distant from the local party-state. This paper helps us to understand the process of peasant mobilisation in contemporary China and explains why peasant protest varies across cases.
Keywords China; protest movement; protest behavior; peasant; communist party; local factors; exertion of government pressure; leadership; level of education; mobilization; Far East; comparative research
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
Method descriptive study
Document language English
Publication Year 2013
Page/Pages p. 167-194
Journal Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 42 (2013) 2
ISSN 1868-4874
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works