The Power of Instability: Unraveling the Microfoundations of Bargained Authoritarianism in China1

  title={The Power of Instability: Unraveling the Microfoundations of Bargained Authoritarianism in China1},
  author={Ching-Kwan Lee and Yonghong Zhang},
  journal={American Journal of Sociology},
  pages={1475 - 1508}
This article develops an interactive and relational conception of infrastructural state power for studying the capacity of authoritarian regimes to absorb popular protests. Based on an ethnography of the grassroots state in moments of unrest in China, the authors identify three microfoundations of Chinese authoritarianism: protest bargaining, legal-bureaucratic absorption, and patron-clientelism. Adopting, respectively, the logics of market exchange, rule-bound games, and interpersonal bonds… 
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