Authoritarian State and Contentious Politics

  • Dingxin Zhao
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)

The modern state has taken much power (in taxation, law, welfare and war-making, etc) away from the local communities and is increasingly relevant to people's lives (Howard 1976; Mann 1986; Tilly 1992). The more a state gains power over the people, the more its presence is felt by the people. Revolution and social movement can thus be seen as people's attempt to harness the increasingly powerful state or to use the state to advance sectarian interests (Bright and Harding 1984; Tilly 1975, 1978, 1986; Tilly et al. 1975). The state plays a more important role in shaping the contentious politics under authoritarian regimes than in democracies. Authoritarian states tend to exert greater control over people's lives and politicize the matters under their control. Most authoritarian states are also less developed and tend to play a more active role in economic development (Evans 1995; Gershenkron 1952; Migdal 1994; Wade 1990; Zhao and Hall 1994), which often generates state-centered grievances. The policies of authoritarian states are more likely to be predatory due to the lack of efficient bureaucracy and democratic politics. The sense of injustice tends to be much stronger among the people under an authoritarian state than in a democracy.


Social Movement Chinese Communist Party Authoritarian Regime Social Mechanism Emotional Work 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Almeida, Paul D. 2003. “Opportunity Organizations and Threat-Induced Contention: Protest Waves in Authoritarian Settings.” American Journal of Sociology 109: 345–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aminzade, Ronald. 1993. Ballots and Barricades: Class Formation and Republican Politics in France, 1830–71. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Andreas, Joel. 2007. “The Structure of Charismatic Mobilization: A Case Study of Rebellion during the Chinese Cultural Revolution.” American Sociological Review 72: 434–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boudreau, Vincent. 2008. Resisting Dictatorship: Repression and Protest in Southeast Asia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bright, Charles, and Susan Harding, eds. 1984. Statemaking and Social Movements, Essays in History and Theory. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  6. Chen, Feng. 2003. “Industrial Restructuring and Workers' Resistance in China.” Modern China 29: 237–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Coleman, James. S. 1990. Foundations of Social Theory. Cambridge, Mass.: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Costain, Anne N., and Andrew S. McFarland, eds. 1998. Social Movements and American Political Institutions. Lanham, MD.: Bowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  9. Deess, Pierre E. 1997. “Collective Life and Social Change in the GDR.” Mobilization 2: 207–25.Google Scholar
  10. Della Porta, Donnatella, and Herbert Reiter (eds.) 1998. Policing Protest: The Control of Mass Demonstrations in Western Democracies. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  11. Elster, Jon. 1998. “A Plea for Mechanisms.” Pp.45–73, in Social Mechanisms, edited by Peter Hedstrom and Richard Swedberg. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Evans, Sara M., and Harry C. Boyte. 1992. Free Space: The Sources of Democratic Change in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  13. Evans, Peter. 1995. Embedded Autonomy: States and Industrial Transformation. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Farhi, Farideh. 1990. States and Urban-Based Revolutions: Iran and Nicaragua. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  15. Foran, John, ed. 1997. Theorizing Revolutions. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Francisco, Ronald A. 2004. “After the Massacre: Mobilization in the Wake of Harsh Repression.” Mobilization 9: 107–26.Google Scholar
  17. Geertz, Clifford 1973. The Interpretation of Culture: Selected Essays. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  18. —— . 1983. “Blurred Genres: The Refiguration of Social Thought.” Pp. 19–35 in Local Knowledge: Further Essays in Interpretative Anthropology. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  19. Gershenkron, Alexander. 1952. “Economic Backwardness in Historical Perspective.” Pp.3–29 in The Progress of Underdeveloped Areas, edited by Berthold Hoselizt. Chicago: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Goldstone, Jack A. 1998. “Social Movements or Revolution?” Pp.125–45 in From Contention To Democracy, edited by Giugni, Macro G., Doug McAdam, and Charles Tilly. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Little Field.Google Scholar
  21. Goodwin, Jeff. 1997. “The Libidinal Constitution of a High-risk Social Movement: Affectual Ties and Solidarity in the Huk Rebellion.” American Sociological Review 62: 53–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. —— . 2001. No Other Way Out: States and Revolutionary Movements, 1945–1991. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Goodwin Jeff, and Theda Skocpol. 1989. “Explaining Revolutions in the Contemporary Third World. Politics and Society 17: 489–509.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gould, Roger V. 1991. “Multiple Networks and Mobilization in the Paris Commune, 1871.” American Sociological Review 56: 716–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. —— . 1995. Insurgent Identities: Class, Community, and Protest in Paris From 1848 to the Commune. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  26. Granovetter, Mark. 1978. “Threshold Models of Collective Behavior.” American Journal of Sociology 83: 1420–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gurr, Ted R. 1986. “Persisting Patterns of Repression and Rebellion: Foundations for a General Theory of Political Coercion.” Pp.149–68 in Persistent Patterns and Emergent Structures in a Waning Century, edited by Margaret P. Karns. New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  28. Halebsky, Sandor. 1976. Mass Society and Political Conflict: Toward a Reconstruction of Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Howard, Michael. 1976. War in European History. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Hurst, William. 2004. “Understanding Contentious Collective Action by Chinese Laid-off Workers: The Importance of Regional Political Economy.” Studies in Comparative International Development. 39: 94–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Javeline, Debra. 2003. Protest and the Politics of Blame: the Russian Response to Unpaid Wages. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  32. Jenkins, J. Craig, and Klandermans Bert, eds. 1995. The Politics of Social Protest. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  33. Kitschelt, Herbert. 1986. “Political Opportunity Structures and Political Protest: Anti-Nuclear Movements in Four Democracies.” British Journal of Political Science 16: 57–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Koo, Hagan. 2001. Korean Workers: Culture and Politics of Class Formation. Ithaca, NY.: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Koopmans, Ruud. 2003. “A Failed Revolution - But a Worthy Cause.” Mobilization 8: 116–119.Google Scholar
  36. Kornhauser, William. 1959. The Politics of Mass Society. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  37. Kriesi, Hanspeter. 1996. “The Organizational Structure of New Social Movements in a Political Context.” Pp.152–84 in Comparative Perspectives on Social Movements, edited by Doug McAdam, John D. McCarthy, and Mayer N. Zald. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Kriesi, Hanspeter, Ruud Koopmans, Jan Willem Duyvendak, and Macro G. Giugni. 1995. The Politics of New Social Movements in Western Europe, A Comparative Analysis. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  39. Kuran, Timur. 1991. “Now Out of Never: The Element of Surprise in the Eastern European Revolution of 1989.” World Politics 44: 7–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. —— . 1995. “The Inevitability of Future Revolutionary Surprises.” American Journal of Sociology. 100: 1528–1551.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. —— . 1997. Private Truths,Public Lies: The Social Consequences of Preference Falsification. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Lee, Ching Kwan. 2007. Against the Law: Labor Protests in China's Rustbelt and Sunbelt. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  43. Lichbach, Mark Irving. 1995. The Rebel's Dilemma. Ann Arbor, MI.: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  44. Liu, Dongxiao. 2006. “When Do National Movements Adopt or Reject International Agendas? A Comparative Analysis of the Chinese and Indian Women's Movements.” American Sociological Review 71: 921–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Mann, Michael. 1986. The Sources of Social Power, vol.1: A History of Power from the Beginning to A.D. 1760. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  46. —— . 1993. The Sources of Social Power, vol.2: The Rise of Classes and Nation-states, 1760–1914. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  47. Marwell, Gerald, Pamela Oliver, and Ralph Prahl. 1988. “Social Networks and Collective Action: A Theory of the Critical Mass. III.” American Journal of Sociology 94: 502–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. McAdam, Doug. 1986. “Recruitment to High-Risk Activism: The Case of Freedom Summer.” American Journal of Sociology 92: 64–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. McAdam, Doug, and Ronnelle Paulsen. 1993. “Specifying the Relationship between Social Ties and Activism.” American Journal of Sociology 99: 640–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. McAdam, Doug, and William Sewell, Jr. 2001. “It's about Time: Temporality in the Study of Social Movements and Revolutions.” Pp.89–125, in Silence and Voice in th Study of Contentious Politics, edited by Ronald R. Aminzade et al. Cambridge: Cambridge University PressCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. McAdam, Doug, Sidney Tarrow, and Charles Tilly. 2001. Dynamics of Contention. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. McCarthy, John D. 1987. “Pro-life and Pro-choice Mobilization: Infrastructure Deficits and New Technologies.” Pp.49–66 in Social Movements in an Organizational Society, edited by Mayer N. Zald and John D. McCarthy. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction.Google Scholar
  53. McDaniel, Tim. 1988. Autocracy, Capitalism and Revolution in Russia. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  54. —— . 1991. Autocracy, Modernization and Revolution in Russia and Iran. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  55. Merton, Robert K. 1967. “On Sociological Theories of the Middle Range.” Pp.39–72, in On Theoretical Sociology. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  56. —— . 1968. “The Self-fulfillment Prophecy.” Pp.475–90, in Social Theory and Social Structure. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  57. Meyer, David S., and Sidney Tarrow. 1998. The Social Movement Society: Contentious Politics for a New Century. Lanham, MD.: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  58. Migdal, Joel S. 1994. “The State in Society: An Approach to Struggles for Domination.” Pp.7–34 in State Power and Social Forces, edited by Migdal, Joel S., Atul Kohli, and Vivienne Shue. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  59. Moore, Barrington. 1966. Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  60. Oberschall, Anthony. 1973. Social Conflict and Social Movements. Englewood Cliffs, NJ.: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  61. O'Brien, Kevin J. 2003. “Neither Transgressive nor Contained: Boundary-spanning Contention in China. Mobilization 8: 51–64.Google Scholar
  62. —— (ed.). 2008. Popular Protest in China. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  63. O'Brien, Kevin J., and Lianjiang Li. 2006. Rightful Resistance in Rural China. Cambridge, Mass.: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Olson, Mancur. 1965. The Logic of Collective Action. Cambridge, Mass.: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  65. Opp, Karl-Dieter. 1994. “Repression and Revolutionary Action. East Germany in 1989.” Rationality and Society. 6: 101–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Opp, Karl-Dieter, and Christiane Gern. 1993. “Dissident Groups, Personal Networks, and Spontaneous Cooperation: The East Germany Revolution of 1989.” American Sociological Review 58: 659–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Opp, Karl-Dieter, and Wolfgang Roehl. 1990. “Repression, Micromobilization, and Political Protest.” Social Forces 69: 521–47.Google Scholar
  68. Perry, Elizabeth J. 2002. “Moving the Masses: Emotion Work in the Chinese Revolution.” Mobilization 7: 111–28.Google Scholar
  69. Pfaff, Steven. 1998. “The Theory of Civil Society and the East German Revolution: Movements, Protest, and the Process of Political Change.” Sociological Analysis 1: 77–97.Google Scholar
  70. Pfaff, Steven, and Hyojoung Kim. 2003. “Exit-Voice Dynamics in Collective Action: An Analysis of Emigration and Protest in the East German Revolution.” American Sociological Review 109: 401–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Pinard, Maurice. 1975. The Rise of a Third Party: A Study in Crisis Politics. Montreal: McGill-Queen's Press.Google Scholar
  72. Rucht, Dieter. 1990. “Campaigns, Skirmishes, and Battles: Anti-Nuclear Movements in the USA, France, and West Germany.” Industrial Crisis Quarterly 4: 193–222.Google Scholar
  73. Scott, James C. 1976. The Moral Economy of the Peasant: Rebellion and Subsistence in Southeast Asia. New Haven, CT.: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  74. —— . 1985. Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance. New Haven, CT.: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  75. Skocpol, Theda. 1979. States and Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia, and China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  76. Snow, David A., Louis A. Zurcher, and Sheldon Ekland-Olson. 1980. “Social Networks and Social Movements: A Microstructural Approach to Differential Recruitment.” American Sociological Review 45: 787–801.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Stinchombe, Arthur L. 1991. “The Conditions of Fruitfulness of Theorizing about Mechanism in Social Science.” Philosophy of the Social Sciences 21: 367–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Straughn, Jeremy Brooke. 2005. “Taking the State at its Word: The Arts of Consentful Contention in the German Democratic Republic. American Journal of Sociology 110: 1598–650.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Sun, Yanfei, and Dingxin Zhao. 2007 “Multifaceted State and Fragmented Society: The Dynamics of the Environmental Movement in China pp. 111–60, in Discontented Miracle Growth, Conflict, and Institutional Adaptations in China, edited by Dali Yang. World Scientific Publisher.Google Scholar
  80. Szabo, Mate. 1996. “Repertoires of Contention in Post-communist Protest Cultures: An East Central European Comparative Survey (Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenis).” Social Research 63: 1155–83.Google Scholar
  81. Tarrow, Sidney. 1992. “Mentalities, Political Cultures, and Collective Action Frames: Constructing Meanings Through Action.” Pp.174–202 in Frontiers in Social Movement Theory, edited by Aldon D. Morris, and Carol M. Mueller. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  82. —— . 1998. Power in Movement. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  83. Thompson, Edward Palmer. 1968. The Making of the English Working Class. Harmonds-worth: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  84. Thornton, Patricia M. 2002. “Framing Dissent in Contemporary China Irony, Ambiguity, and Metonymy.” China Quarterly No.171: 661–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Tilly, Charles, ed. 1975. The Formation of National States in Western Europe. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  86. —— . 1978. From Mobilization to Revolution. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  87. —— . 1986. The Contentious French, Four Centuries of Popular Struggle. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  88. —— . 1992. Coercion, Capital, and European States, AD 990–1992. Cambridge: Mass.: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  89. Tilly, Charles, and Sidney Tarrow. 2007. Contentious Politics. Boulder, Colo.: Paradigm Publisher.Google Scholar
  90. Tilly, Charles, Louise Tilly, and Richard Tilly. 1975. The Rebellious Century, 1830–1930. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  91. Tocqueville, Alexis de. 1955. The Old Regime and the French Revolution. New York: Anchor Books.Google Scholar
  92. Useem, Bert. 1980. “Solidarity Model, Breakdown model, and the Boston Anti-busing Movement.” American Sociological Review 45: 357–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. von Eschen, Donald, Jerome Kirk, and Maurice Pinard. 1971. “The Organizational Substructure of Disorderly Politics.” Social Forces 49: 529–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Wade, Robert. 1990. Governing the Market: Economic Theory and the Role of Government in East Asian Industrialization. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  95. Wickham-Crowley, Timothy P. 1992. Guerrillas and Revolution in Latin America: A Comparative Study of Insurgents and Regimes Since 1956. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  96. Wood, Elisabeth Jean. 2000. Forging Democracy from Below: Insurgent Transitions in South Africa and El Salvador. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  97. Yu, Zhiyuan, and Dingxin Zhao. 2006. “Differential Participation and Nature of a Movement: A Study of the 1999 Anti-U.S. Beijing Student Demonstrations.” Social Forces. 84: 1755–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Zhao, Dingxin 1998. “Ecologies of Social Movements: Student Mobilization during the 1989 Pro-democracy Movement in Beijing.” American Journal of Sociology 103: 1493–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. —— . 2000. “State-Society Relations and the Discourses and Activities during the 1989 Beijing Student Movement.” American Journal of Sociology, 105: 1592–632.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. —— . 2001. The Power of Tiananmen: State-Society Relations and the 1989 Beijing Student Movement. The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  101. —— . 2002. “The 1999 Anti-US Demonstrations and the Nature of Student Nationalism in China Today.” Problems of Post-Communism 49 (November/December): 16–28.Google Scholar
  102. —— . 2008. “Organization and Place in the Anti-U.S. Demonstrations after the 1999 Belgrade Embassy Bombing.” Mobilization, 14: 405–428.Google Scholar
  103. Zhao, Dingxin, and John A. Hall. 1994. “State Power and Patterns of Late Development: Resolving the Crisis of the Sociology of Development.” Sociology 28: 211–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. Zhou, Xueguang. 1993. “Unorganized Interests and Collective Action in Communist China.” American Sociological Review 58: 54–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dingxin Zhao
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations