March 6 workshop and reception

Workshop on East Asia: Politics, Economy and Society Presents

“Extra-Budget Funds in China: Source of Corruption or Good Governance?”
Presenter: Yeonju Lee
Doctoral Student of Political Science, University of Chicago

4:00-5:30pm, Tuesday
March 6, 2012
Pick Lounge, 5828 South University Ave.

The workshop will be followed by a reception, in which drinks and snacks will be provided for celebrating the end of the winter quarter.

Abstract: China’s continued growth has remained as critical puzzle especially to those, who believe that non-democracies are inherently self-destructive. With no imminent signs of a significant economic slow-down at sight, these scholars have turned to problematize the quality of the growth; bad quality of the economic growth led to huge governance deficits such as urban-rural inequality, corruption, and deteriorating public finance (Pei 2006; Huang 2007; Wong and Bird 2008; Wong 2009). They point to the increasing amount of extra-budget funds (EBFs) as the principal driver of the bad-quality growth, in particular, corruption. The paper challenges this claim by arguing that EBFs are not inherently detrimental, and that they may improve governance. I also present under what conditions EBFs are expected to be harmful, and when they are expected to improve governance.

Workshop website: http://cas.uchicago.edu/workshops/eastasia/
Student coordinator: Yang Zhang (yangzhang@uchicago.edu)
Faculty sponsors: Dali Yang and Dingxin Zhao

The workshop is sponsored by the Council on Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences and Center for East Asian Studies. Persons with disabilities who believe they may need assistance, please contact the student coordinator in advance.

Feb. 21 Workshop

Workshop on East Asia: Politics, Economy and Society Presents

“Authoritarian Survival and the Politics of Containment:
Why Local Governments in China Tolerate Unregistered Protestant Churches”

Presenter: Marie-Eve Reny
Postdoctoral Research Fellow of Political Science
University of Chicago

4:00-5:30pm, Tuesday
Feb. 21, 2012
Pick Lounge, 5828 South University Ave.

Abstract: In an attempt to explain authoritarian regime survival, the comparative literature in political science has emphasized among other factors, leaders’ strategic use of cooptation to integrate parts of the opposition into a corporatist system of representation and repression to eliminate others. Yet, in reality, authoritarian regimes face a range of societal groups that they are unable to coopt and against which they cannot use extensive force. Using as an empirical terrain the case of local governments’ responses to underground Protestant churches in Mainland China, this paper argues that authoritarian state actors may choose informal tolerance over cooptation and coercion to contain the subversive potential of an uncooptable group in society. They are likely to embrace this strategy under two conditions: first, when existing institutions of cooptation are ineffective but their reform could compromise the survival of the regime, and when suppression is too costly for the political stability of the regime. Second, when members of the uncooptable space seek to minimize the risks of being harassed for rejecting cooptation, officials have an opportunity to trade informal autonomy for compliance on their part. Ultimately, containment contributes to authoritarian regime survival in that it increases the costs of political mobilization on the part of the informally tolerated groups, and creates divisions among compliant and politicized uncooptable segments of society.

Workshop website: http://cas.uchicago.edu/workshops/eastasia/
Student coordinator: Yang Zhang (yangzhang@uchicago.edu)
Faculty sponsors: Dali Yang and Dingxin Zhao

The workshop is sponsored by the Council on Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences and Center for East Asian Studies. Persons with disabilities who believe they may need assistance, please contact the student coordinator in advance.

Feb. 7 Workshop

Workshop on East Asia: Politics, Economy and Society Presents

“Revolutionary Ecology and the Rise of Taiping Rebellion, 1846-1853”
Presenter: Yang Zhang
Doctoral Student of Sociology, University of Chicago

4:00-5:30pm, Tuesday
Feb. 7, 2012
Pick Lounge, 5828 South University Ave.

Abstract: The third quarter of the nineteenth century was the most turbulent era in imperial China and probably witnessed one of the greatest rebellions in world history, the Taiping Rebellion, which emerged as the first national, major rebellion among numerous others. This article proposes an ecological theory to explain why the Taiping Rebellion took off and stood out from local insurgencies that had been occurring since the late 1840s. Instead of using structural, preexisting factors to explain large, long-lived, and successful revolutions/rebellions, this article argues that the totality of rebellious and repressive forces constitute a revolutionary ecology in which certain rebellions could be better off by the coordinating and competitive inter-rebel relationships. Drawing on both court records and local gazetteers, the article presents a picture of rebellion, banditry, communal feuding, and increasing militarization in Guangxi Province starting in the late 1840s. The Qing state employed most of its regular forces to fight against familiar Triad rebels and bandits, and therefore overlooked the assembly of Taiping insurgents in late 1850 and had even not identified Taiping as rebellious until then. Even after the outbreak of Taiping in early 1851, the Qing state was unable to redeploy its regular forces to pacify Taiping, since it needed to cope with other rebellions as well. The Taiping rebels also applied a set of ecology-dependent strategies during this early period. This paper concludes that the emergence and development of Taiping and other major rebellions in this turbulent era could be better understood within the context of a changing revolutionary ecology.

Workshop website: http://cas.uchicago.edu/workshops/eastasia/
Student coordinator: Yang Zhang (yangzhang@uchicago.edu)
Faculty sponsors: Dali Yang and Dingxin Zhao

The workshop is sponsored by the Council on Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences and Center for East Asian Studies. Persons with disabilities who believe they may need assistance, please contact the student coordinator in advance.