Images and Frameworks of Collective Action in China

  • Carsten StormEmail author


The concept of collective action has been widely received in Asia in general and in China in particular. Within the transcultural flow of this concept, two theses gain momentum. From a Western point of view, collective action is often regarded as a pathway toward civil society, democracy, and liberalism. From a Chinese point of view, a cultural heritage of collective action is constructed that emphasizes a primordial and essentialized affinity of the Chinese human being toward collective action. This chapter will challenge both theses. The Chinese anthropological and philosophical heritage focuses on relationships that are bipolar, hierarchical, and multi-instrumental instead of collective and driven by particularly shared intentions. I will further argue that due to a legacy of a concept of public welfare, collective action tends to be affirmative toward state and society, and that it does not automatically oppose authoritarian power.


Civil Society Collective Action Qing Dynasty Chinese Communist Party Ming Dynasty 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chinese StudiesFriedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-NürnbergErlangenGermany

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