Protest outcomes in rural China are typically an outgrowth of interaction between activists, sympathetic elites, targets, and the public. Popular agitation first alerts concerned officials to poor policy implementation and may prompt them to take corrective steps. As a result of participating in contention, certain activists feel empowered and become more likely to take part in future challenges, whereas others feel disillusioned and lapse into passivity. In the course of observing collective action, some onlookers are sensitized to protesters' concerns and public opinion is affected. Without popular action, better implementation, biographical change, and effects on the public would not emerge, but nor would they without involvement from above. Studying the impact of this protest thus sheds light on two issues that have long troubled students of contentious politics: (a) how to get a grip on indirect, mediated consequences; and (b) how to think about causality when change is a result of popular action as well as openings provided by sympathetic elites.
|Title of host publication||Contemporary Chinese Society and Politics|
|Editors||Andrew KIPNIS, Luigi TOMBA, Jonathan UNGER|
|Number of pages||22|
|Publication status||Published - 28 Jan 2009|
|Name||Critical Concepts in Asian Studies|