A survey Ethan Michelson conducted in 2002 painted a poignant picture of rural China as a hotbed of discontent and unrest. Since then, central government policies designed to construct a new socialist countryside have taken direct aim at important sources of rural conflict. However, scholars and journalists generally suggest (or directly assert) that the policies have failed to improve rural state-society relations. A follow-up survey Professor Michelson conducted in the same locations in 2010 challenges the naysayers by showing a dramatic and positive turnaround in state-society relations in the Chinese countryside. Information provided by over 2,200 villagers in 23 villages across five provinces reflects a decline in levels of conflict and improvements in public goods provision, household economic conditions, and popular perceptions of the government.
DATE: Mar 22
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ABOUT THE SPEAKER:
Ethan Michelson is Associate Professor of Sociology and East Asian Languages and Cultures, and Associate Professor Sociology and Law at Indiana University-Bloomington. Born in Toronto, he received his B.A. in East Asian studies and sociology from McGill University. He has an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago. His research on Chinese lawyers and social conflict in rural China has been published a variety of disciplinary and area studies journals, including the American Sociological Review, the American Journal of Sociology, The China Quarterly, Law & Society Review, Social Problems, and Journal of Conflict Resolution. His research has been funded by the Ford Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the U.S. Department of Education (Fulbright-Hays), the American Bar Foundation, and the Hopkins-Nanjing Center.