Finding a place for the party: debunking the “party-state” and rethinking the state-society relationship in China’s one-party system

Snape, H. and Wang, W. (2020) Finding a place for the party: debunking the “party-state” and rethinking the state-society relationship in China’s one-party system. Journal of Chinese Governance, 5(4), pp. 477-502. (doi: 10.1080/23812346.2020.1796411)

[img] Text
221214.pdf - Accepted Version



This paper proposes a new agenda for research on Chinese politics that overcomes the obscuring effect of the ubiquitous ‘party-state’ construct, finds a substantive place for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and thereby reveals dynamics of the interplay between the Party, society and state that otherwise remain hidden. Since the 1980s, the state-society relationship has been the subject of extensive scholarship. Yet most such work treats the CCP as little more than the assumed and elusive source of power behind the state. We show why, in conceptualizing and theorizing this one-party state’s state-society relationship, it is imperative to separate ‘Party’ from ‘state,’ to bring the former under close scrutiny, and to do so in a way that accounts for the multidimensional, multidirectional interplay between state, society and Party. We combine a historical perspective with analysis of political documents and discourse to demonstrate how research toward this new agenda might be pursued. By doing so, we offer examples of the dimensions and dynamics of governance processes, such as tensions between Party and state imperatives, the implications of Party reliance on the state to influence society, and the possible spaces for actor agency that, without this proposed shift, go ignored or misinterpreted.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Holly Snape receives funding from the British Academy in the form of a postdoctoral fellowship.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Wang, Mr Weinan and Snape, Dr Holly
Authors: Snape, H., and Wang, W.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:Journal of Chinese Governance
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN (Online):2381-2354
Published Online:01 August 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 Zhejiang University
First Published:First published in Journal of Chinese Governance 5(4):477-502
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record