The Ash Center and Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies invite you to a book talk with Manfred Elfstrom, author of Workers and Change in China: Resistance, Repression,& Responsiveness (2021, Cambridge University Press) and Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of British Columbia. Elfstrom will be joined by Yao Li, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology and Law at the University of Florida and author of Playing by the Informal Rules— Why the Chinese Regime Remains Stable despite Rising Protests (2019, Cambridge University Press). Edward Cunningham, Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy and Director of Ash Center China Programs, will moderate the conversation.
About the Speakers
Manfred Elfstrom is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics, Philosophy, and Political Science at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan. He studies China, social movements, labor, and authoritarianism. His research has appeared in China Quarterly, Journal of Contemporary China, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, British Journal of Industrial Relations, and China Information. He has a PhD from Cornell University’s Department of Government and was a China Public Policy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ash Center.
Yao Li is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology & Law at the University of Florida. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Johns Hopkins University. She was a China Public Policy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ash Center. She is the author of Playing by the Informal Rules—Why the Chinese Regime Remains Stable despite Rising Protests (Cambridge 2019; Cambridge Studies in Contentious Politics). Her research combines quantitative and qualitative methods to address debates in the fields of social movements, environmental studies, political sociology, and development.
About the Book
Strikes, protests, and riots by Chinese workers have been rising over the past decade. The state has addressed a number of grievances, yet has also come down increasingly hard on civil society groups pushing for reform. Why are these two seemingly clashing developments occurring simultaneously? Manfred Elfstrom uses extensive fieldwork and statistical analysis to examine both the causes and consequences of protest. The book adopts a holistic approach, encompassing national trends in worker–state relations, local policymaking processes and the dilemmas of individual officials and activists. Instead of taking sides in the old debate over whether non-democracies like China's are on the verge of collapse or have instead found ways of maintaining their power indefinitely, it explores the daily evolution of autocratic rule. While providing a uniquely comprehensive picture of change in China, this important study proposes a new model of bottom-up change within authoritarian systems more generally.
Virtual Event Recording