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An extensive literature on social movements points to the role of social networks in movement recruitment and development. It is anomalous, therefore, that treatments of Chinese social movements seldom acknowledge the importance of guanxi networks. Theories of social movements are typically constructed on the basis of US and European cases and draw upon the intellectual formations of these regions. Through an examination of social movements in contemporary China it is shown that guanxi is not only relevant to the operation of social movements but to our understanding of how social movements are formed and also how they are suppressed and undermined by the state. It will be shown that by theorising social movements in China in terms of guanxi there is scope to augment social network approaches to social movements.


School of Arts

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Journal Article

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