In the wake of the Arab Spring, the London riots, and the growth of "occupation" movements, new strategies of public activism are emerging and being debated. With China's fragmented authoritarian landscape, its conscious avoidance of electoral politics, and its increasingly complex public sphere, Chinese activists — whether urban or rural, individual or collective, local or internationalised — are developing novel and complicated ways of promoting their objectives and resolving their disputes. The plethora of public "mass incidents", the crackdown on lawyers and public intellectuals of early 2011, and the development of a transgressive and satirical online culture all provide new and substantial challenges to the stability and authority of the Chinese party-state.
This conference will aim to explore and assess the new strategies of activism which have emerged in China over the past decade. It will rely on a broad interpretation of activism and public engagement, ranging from public protests and anti-government discourse to dispute resolution at a local level. In particular, the conference aims to explore the ways in which the Chinese public has made use of changes in their public sphere to develop strategies for the promotion of ideas and dispute resolution. It will also aim to address the effect of the "individualization of Chinese society" (to use Yunxiang Yan's term) on activism, and to draw distinctions between activism done as a collective and performed by individuals.
Admission is free. Kindly register early as seats are available on a first come, first served basis. We would gratefully request that you RSVP to Valerie Yeo e-mail: email@example.com indicating your name, email, designation, organization and contact number.
Dr Jonathan Benney
Postdoctoral Fellow, Asia Research Institute, NUS
Dr Peter Marolt
Research Fellow, Asia Research Institute, NUS
Ms Valerie Yeo
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
469A Tower Block, Level 10, Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259770
Tel: (65) 6516 5279
Fax: (65) 6779 1428