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Title: Housing activism in Shanghai : opportunities and constraints
Other Titles: Shanghai ye zhu wei quan yun dong : ji hui ji xian zhi
上海業主維權運動 : 機會及限制
Authors: Huang, Ronggui (黃榮貴)
Department: Department of Public and Social Administration
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: City University of Hong Kong
Subjects: Homeowners -- China -- Shanghai -- Political activity.
Notes: CityU Call Number: HD7368.A3 H83 2010
vii, 329 leaves 30 cm.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--City University of Hong Kong, 2010.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 301-322)
Type: thesis
Abstract: Rights-defending activities by home-owners are common in contemporary China. Not only is collective resistance by home-owners possible, some of such actions also last for a long period of time. This study seeks to understand the emergence and development of home-owners' collective resistance with a particular focus on how home-owners exploit objective political conditions and make collective resistance a viable strategy in an authoritarian regime like China. Theories of contentious politics are reviewed and the thesis argues that the perspective of political opportunity is the most insightful theoretical approach in guiding the research on homeowner activism. However, existing literature offers limited knowledge on how home-owners capitalize objective political opportunities. The dissertation takes Shanghai as the case and uses multiple data sources, which include secondary data, face-to-face interview, on-line information, news reports and other archives. It is found that home-owners take both political and legal action to defend their collective interests. The political environment in China is moving in a direction that favours homeowners and creates new opportunities for home-owner activism. These include bureaucratic contention between the high- and low-level governments, easy access of state policies and the discrepancy between legal system and political system. Three mechanisms through which homeowners capitalize objective political opportunities are observed. They are owner-government intersection, litigation (especially administrative litigation) and extensive use of the Internet. This thesis concludes that both the emergence of new objective political opportunities and the ways such opportunities are exploited offer the key to understanding the development of owners' collective resistance in China. This research is able to make original contributions to the study of contention in China and extends the concept of opportunity from the political to the legal arena. It also proposes a typology of legal opportunity with which how the legal system facilitates and constrains owners' rights-defending activities can be understood. In addition, the roles of the Internet in locating political opportunities and establishing connections with similar collective resistance are highlighted. The implications of home-owner activism are also discussed.
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