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State Control of Social Organizations in China: A Historical-Institutional Analysis

Tuesday, October 23 2018 12 noon - 1:00 pm

UWM Alumni House
3230 E Kenwood Blvd.
Milwaukee, WI 53211

Dr. Brenda Tong, Asst. Professor, Jianghan University, Wuhan, PRC (UW-Milwaukee Visiting Scholar)

The purpose of this presentation is to analyze state control of social organizations (Nonprofit and Nonpolitical Organizations) in China using the historical-institutional approach. Examining recent fast development of social organizations in China reveals that strong state control is one of the obstacles for future development of social organizations in China.

This significant theoretical issue relates to the state-society relationship which has been widely studied by China Studies scholars. On the one hand, some researchers argue that fast development of social organizations will lead to a civil society in China. On the other hand, most researchers argue that those social organizations are still either agents of the state or tightly controlled by the state.

Previous research followed two analytical approaches in analyzing strong state control of social organizations in China. The structural approach focuses on the impact of deeper social structure while the rational choice approach focuses on path-dependency. An historical-institutional analysis tries to combine both structural and rational choice approaches to institutional change, as we delve deeper into the development and growth of a potential new state-social organizational construct in China.