The question addressed in this paper is how stability maintenance is conceptualized by the scholars debating the abolition of the laojiao system and if and how this conceptualization differs from Western theoretical approaches on social and political stability. I argue that the main elements of the conceptualization in the debate are arbitrariness, threat, (legal) uncertainty and unpredictability, elements which are put into practice by systems like the laojiao system and which differ substantially from Western conceptions of stability maintenance. By comparing and contrasting these Western and Chinese lines of thought on maintaining stability, I also aim to contribute to the general discussion in the social sciences on effective means of maintaining social and political stability. Given the fact that Western theory often claims to be universally deployable, it is remarkable that China has been able to maintain stability up to now without considering the core factors of Western theory.
|Number of pages||24|
|Journal||Chinese History and Society/Berliner China-Hefte|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|
Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms
- Manchester China Institute