East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society

November 1, Shilin Jia, “Organizational Identity and Metabolism: Inter-organizational Mobility of Political Elites in CCP China, 1977-2012.”


East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society presents


Organizational Identity and Metabolism: Inter-organizational Mobility of Political Elites in CCP China, 1977-2012.”

Shilin Jia

PhD Student, Department of Sociology

University of Chicago

4:30-6:00p.m., Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Pick Lounge, 5828 South University Ave.

*Light refreshments will be served*


How would a large and complex social organism reproduce itself while all of its members are always in flows? How could it maintain its unity with spatial and functional differentiation? Are identity and change not only always coexisting but also mutually constitutive? The co-presence of large-scale institutional realignment and political unity in the Chinese communist party state during the past 30 to 40 years poses an intriguing case for studying the classical question of how social institutions persist and evolve out of complex and often contradictory social relationships. By machine-coding the CVs of over 8000 Chinese political elites and analyzing their career flows during the period, this study reveals the changing patterns of how Chinese political elites have been transferred across different geographical and functional domains (provinces and ministries). The changing coupling and de-coupling patterns suggest some significant reorientation of “mobility as control” mechanism during the process of the party state’s institutional evolution from a centrally planned system to the multifaceted Leviathan at the current stage with coexisting centrifugal and centripetal forces represented by clear division of labor and highly frequent circular job movements.

Note: A network visualization of the study can be viewed at https://www.dropbox.com/s/4g4lmlsnb1urc6b/output_3.wmv.

About the speaker:

Shilin Jia is a 3rd year PhD student in the Department of Sociology. He is interested in applying computational methods to studying macro social-historical change and modeling large-scale stochastic social processes in continuous time. He also has a broad interest in sociological theory and quantitative methodology. In addition to the Chinese bureaucratic circulation project he has spent almost forever working on, Jia is currently also involved in a computational content analysis project, with his colleague Linzhuo Li, tracking changing economic rhetoric in 60 years of the People’s Daily.

* To see the full autumn 2016 schedule: 2016 Autumn Schedule

* Questions and concerns can be addressed to the student coordinator Yinxian Zhang (zyxzhang@uchicago.edu)

Faculty sponsors:

Xi Song (Sociology), Dali Yang (Political Science), and Dingxin Zhao (Sociology)

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

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