East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society

May 29th Workshop


Workshop on East Asia: Politics, Economy and Society Presents

“Grassroots Protest Leadership in China:
State-Leader Dynamics and Movement Outcomes”

Presenter: Jean Lin

Doctoral Candidate of Sociology

University of Chicago

4:00-5:30pm, Tuesday

May 29, 2012

Pick Lounge, 5828 South University Ave.


My study aims to understand what has contributed to the differentiated outcomes of protest activities in China by looking at three cases of community environmental protests in Beijing. Although being same-issue protests, the outcomes of these movements greatly varied, resulting in repression, cooptation, and acceptance. I argue that leadership and leadership strategies were crucial in determining the outcomes of these protests, and the dynamics of state-leader interactions mutually created crucial junctures in the protests which largely contributed to differentiated protest outcomes.

I found that leadership strategies in these three protests led to different patterns of interactions and these strategies served as switches that switched on and off certain structural constraints or openings available to the leaders. Initial leadership strategies are crucial determinants in setting a specific relationship with the state, later strategies also matter, but primary interactions are the key in shaping movement processes and outcomes. Moreover, I examine the dynamics of state-leader relationships and how leadership strategies crucially pattern this dynamic and influence movement outcomes. I seek to go beyond the structure vs. agency problem, and improve upon existing explanations by incorporating a relational analysis that takes into account time and identify turning points in movement processes that demonstrated to be crucial in defining the nature and future development of the protests.

Workshop website: http://cas.uchicago.edu/workshops/eastasia/

Student coordinator: Yang Zhang (yangzhang@uchicago.edu)

Faculty sponsors: Dali Yang and Dingxin Zhao

This presentation 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.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.