Contemporary Chinese Politics: New Sources, Methods, and Field Strategies

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Contemporary Chinese Politics: Sources, Methods, and Field Strategies considers how new and diverse sources and methods are changing the study of Chinese politics. Contributors spanning three generations in China studies place their distinct qualitative and quantitative methodological approaches in the framework of the discipline and point to challenges or opportunities (or both) of adapting new sources and methods to the study of contemporary China. How can we more effectively use new sources and methods of data collection? How can we better integrate the study of Chinese politics into the discipline of political science, to the betterment of both? How can we more appropriately manage the logistical and ethical problems of doing political research in the challenging Chinese environment? In addressing these questions, this comprehensive methodological survey will be of immense interest to graduate students heading into the field for the first time and experienced scholars looking to keep abreast of the state of the art in the study of Chinese politics.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The study of Chinese politics is changing. There’s no better guide to how it is changing or who is leading the way than this book. Cutting-edge methods imported from the social sciences, sources that were unimaginable just a few years ago, and novel fieldwork strategies are all highlighted in a uniformly strong set of essays.”
—Kevin J. O’Brien, University of California, Berkeley

“This book is a must-read for all serious students of Chinese politics. Offering an informed overview of the current state of the field, as well as practical tips on research design and methods, the volume highlights the remarkable diversity in approaches and sources that characterizes the study of contemporary Chinese politics. Taking advantage of the explosion of new data that has accompanied the opening of mainland China to social science investigation, the authors explore the promise (and problems) of a closer integration with the political science discipline.”
—Elizabeth J. Perry, Harvard University; Director, Harvard-Yenching Institute

“With contributions from many of the leading scholars in Chinese politics, this volume represents a tour de force in its analysis of the methodological concerns and new data sources that any serious student of China will encounter in the process of conducting fieldwork, consulting archives, choosing research sites, designing and implementing a survey, using electronic media sources, coding data, etc. The volume should be required reading in upper undergraduate and graduate courses on Chinese politics and research methods.”
—Kellee S. Tsai, Johns Hopkins University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521155762
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/29/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 1,226,356
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Allen Carlson is an Associate Professor in Cornell University's Government Department. He is the author of Unifying China, Integrating with the World: Securing Chinese Sovereignty During the Reform Era (2005) and the co-editor (with J. J. Suh and Peter Katzenstein) of Rethinking Security in East Asia: Power, Identity and Efficiencies (2004). His articles have appeared in the Journal of Contemporary China and Pacific Affairs.

Mary E. Gallagher is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan and the Director of the Center for Chinese Studies. She is also a faculty associate at the Center for Comparative Political Studies at the Institute for Social Research. She is the author of Contagious Capitalism: Globalization and the Politics of Labor in China (2005) and her articles have appeared in World Politics, the Law and Society Review, Studies in Comparative International Development and Asian Survey.

Kenneth Lieberthal is a Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy and in Global Economy and Development and also is Director of the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution. He has written and edited fifteen books and monographs, most recently The US Intelligence Community and Foreign Policy: Getting Analysis Right (2009) and (with David Sandalow) Overcoming Obstacles to US-China Cooperation on Climate Change (2009). He is also the author of about seventy periodical articles and chapters in books, as well as having published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Financial Times, the South China Morning Post and numerous other newspapers.

Melanie Manion is a Professor of Political Science and Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her publications include Retirement of Revolutionaries in China (1993) and Corruption by Design (2004). Her articles have appeared in the American Political Science Review, Comparative Political Studies, the Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization and China Quarterly.

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Table of Contents

Introduction Allen Carlson, Mary Gallagher and Melanie Manion; Part I. Sources: 1. State-generated data and contentious politics in China Xi Chen; 2. Why archives? Neil J. Diamant; 3. The central committee, past and present: a method of quantifying elite biographies Victor Shih, Wei Shan and Mingxing Liu; 4. Experimental methods and psychological measures in the study of Chinese foreign policy Peter Hays Gries; 5. Internet resources and the study of Chinese foreign relations: can cyberspace shed new light on China's approach to the world? Allen Carslon and Hong Duan; 6. Information overload? Collecting, managing, and analyzing Chinese media content Daniela Stockman; Part II. Qualitative Methods: 7. The worm's-eye view: using ethnography to illuminate labor politics and institutional change in contemporary China Calvin Chen; 8. More than an interview, less than Sedaka: studying subtle and hidden politics with site-intensive methods Benjamin L. Read; 9. Cases, questions, and comparison in research on contemporary Chinese politics William Hurst; Part III. Survey Methods: 10. A survey of survey research on Chinese politics: what have we learned? Melanie Manion; 11. Surveying prospects for political change: capturing political and economic variation in empirical research in China Bruce J. Dickson; 12. Using clustered spatial data to study diffusion: the case of legal institutions in China Pierre F. Landry; 13. Measuring change and stability over a decade in the Beijing area study Mingming Shen and Ming Yang with Melanie Manion; 14. Quantitative research and issues of political sensitivity in rural China Lily L. Tsai; Reflections on the evolution of the China field in political science Kenneth Lieberthal; Glossary.

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