Abstract: This paper examines three forms of state–society relations in modern Chinese political history between 1926 and 1992 by employing two methods of comparative historical research: individualizing comparison and variation-finding comparison. Through these methods, this paper argues that modern Chinese politics and other Chinese social phenomena, rather than representing an exceptional, exotic case, can be a useful subject of comparative studies for social scientists. A focus on China can test and generate social theories about all human social actions. In order to support the above argument, the individualizing comparison in this paper identifies the outline and structure of three distinct forms (the Nationalist, crisis-driven form for pacification, the Maoist, utopia-driven form for mobilization and the Dengist form for rapid growth through marketization) of Chinese state–society relations, and the variation-finding comparison points out the common structural factors (military threats and ideological institutions) that influence both European and Chinese experiences of modern state formation. This commonality between Chinese and European history, therefore, is an important clue for scholars to undertake research without excluding the possibility of utilizing China as a useful case for comparative studies.
Keywords: modern Chinese politics, military threats, ideological power, economic modernization, state–society relations
Kuang-Hao Hou (侯广豪) is Associate Professor at the Department of Ocean and Border Governance, National Quemoy University, Taiwan. He is the author of State Domination in Modern China: An Examination of the Applicability of the IMEP Model for the Analysis of Chinese Politics in the Twentieth Century. He obtained a PhD in Politics at the University of York, UK. He employs concepts and theories of political sociology to explore issues of elite coalitions and state domination; marine affairs; ethnicity and nationalism; and democratization; and has published many journal articles.
Cite this article
A comparative study of modern Chinese political history, 1926 – 1992: Examining the nationalist, Maoist and Dengist forms of state-society relations. The West in the East: Max Weber’s nightmare in ‘post-modern’ China
Journal of China in Comparative Perspective
Vol.2 Issue 2. 2016, p42-63