Twenty years ago, village elections were introduced in rural China and since then have been discussed as a major step towards local democracy, self-government and institutional change. Even if there are still many difficulties with election procedures, village elections meanwhile are considered to be established. But what are results of the elections in terms of local governance? Who decides in villages about important issues and which role does the elected body (village committee) play in this regard? How institutionalised are the rules and procedures of the decision-making processes? The lecture present results from field research in six Chinese villages, where the decision-making on small local infrastructure projects has been studied in detail.
Dr Anja Senz studied Chinese at Zhongshan University in Guangzhou (P.R.China) and holds an MA in Political Science, Sociology and Anthropology from the University of Trier, Germany. She wrote her PhD thesis at University of Duisburg-Essen on the topic of decision-making in Chinese villages. Currently she is lecturer at the Institute of Political Science and the Institute of East Asian Studies at University of Duisburg-Essen and executive director of the Confucius Institute Metropolis Ruhr. She has field research and working experience in PR China, Hong Kong, Korea, India and Nepal. Her current research focus is institutional change and political stability in rural China. She is co-editor of the China Companion, a comprehensive source for research on domestic politics, international relations and the political economy of contemporary China (www.thechinacompanion.eu).
Among her recent publications are: Heberer, Thomas/Senz Anja: 'Reform, Demokratisierung, Stabilität oder Kollaps? Literaturbericht zur Entwicklung des chinesischen Herrschaftssystems' [Literature review on the development of the Chinese political system] in: Politische Vierteljahresschrift, Vol.50, No.2 (2009), pp.306-326; Senz, Anja: 'Vier Demokratien für China's Dörfer?' [Four democracies in Chinese villages?], in: Das neue China, 2/2008, pp.19-22; Thomas Heberer/Anja Senz: China’s Significance in International Politics. Domestic and External Developments and Action Potentials (Bonn: German Development Institute, 2007).
This seminar is part of the World Universities Network Contemporary China Center Virtual Seminars programme. This year’s series will focus on social development and political reform from economic, ethnic and ecological perspectives with a focus on issues of fairness and equality. The series allows audiences around the world to hear from leading scholars in Contemporary China studies and to engage in dialogue with one another across geographic boundaries. Each seminar includes an interactive question and answer session across all sites.
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