East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society

Oct 31, MA session | Fangzhu Lu, Lingnan He, and Chengzuo Tang



MA Session

“Interplay between Online Media and Environmental Protest in Rural China: 

Case Studies Based on Cancer Villages.”

Fangzhu Lu


“The Pattern of Political Trust and Redistributive Preferences:

Theory and Evidence from the Chinese Context”

Lingnan He


“Beyond the Patron-Client Relationship: Private Entrepreneur’s 

Political Entitlement and Elastic Capitalism in Post-socialist China”

Chengzuo Tang

Oct 31, Wed 12:00-1:30 pm

Pick Lounge, 5828 South University Ave.

Pizza will be provided


Fangzhu Lu:

China’s meteoric rise on the global economic stage has garnered the attention of both domestic and overseas media. So, too, have the serious and worrying environmental pollution rises. It is commonly believed that the increase of cancer cases in Chinese rural areas has a strong relationship with the deterioration of local environment, especially the industrial pollution. However, figuring out the environmental causes of cancer victims has been a long and difficult process, and the available evidence whether villagers’ cancer are results of the exposure to local environmental pollutants is not that easy to collect. Based on a documentary review of selected online news reports and news comments during the past 8 years, this paper aims to study the interactions between the online media activism, environmental governance and environmental collective actions based on case studies of cancer villages.

Lingnan He:

Despite the existence of a large body of theoretical literature on political trust, empirical work has failed to reach a consensus on its implications for individual attitudes toward redistribution. In this paper, I propose and test a number of hypotheses on the relationship between political trust and preferences for redistribution in the context of contemporary China. First, in authoritarian contexts, diffuse trust—i.e., trust directed at the overall governmental system—and specific trust—i.e., trust regarding particular policy outcomes—should have opposing effects on an individual’s observed preference for redistribution. Specifically, the former should be associated with reduced preference for redistribution, and the latter should be positively associated with the preference for redistribution. Second, uniform trusters and uniform distrusters—individuals who demonstrate either indiscriminately high or low levels of trust towards political institutions and policies—should generally exhibit a lower preference for governmental redistribution efforts compared to other citizens. Evidence from the WVS and the CGSS offers initial support for these predictions.

Chengzuo Tang:

The existing literature has frequently claimed, in the capitalist transformation of socialist regime, the market success of private entrepreneur largely relies on the political connection to bureaucratic power—especially through its dominant form of the “patron-client” relationship between individual businessman and official. However, what if the private entrepreneur transcends the state-market boundary, and attains the institutional authority in the formal policymaking domain? By addressing China’s distinctive experience of capitalist transformation among the major post-socialist regimes,

this research project illustrates the empirical foundation as well as discusses the theoretical implication of the rising economic elite’s political entitlement in the formal institution. With the analytical focus on how the private entrepreneur might venture to organize strategically and act collectively in the institutional process for commercial ends, the original concept of the “elastic capitalism” is particularly contended as a theoretical alternative.

* Subscribe  to our workshop mailing-list at: https://lists.uchicago.edu/web/info/east-asia

* Abstract or description of each presentation will be posted on our website: http://cas.uchicago.edu/workshops/eastasia

* Questions and comments can be addressed to the student coordinators Jongyoon Baik: baikjongyoon@uchicago.edu and Ji Xue: jixue@uchicago.edu

*Persons with disabilities who believe they may need assistance please contact the student coordinators in advance.

*Faculty Sponsors: Xi Song (Sociology), xisong@uchicago.edu; Dali Yang (Political Science), daliyang@uchicago.edu

The East Asia Workshop is sponsored by the Council on Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences.

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