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Beyond Contestation

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Chinese Grassroots NGOs and the Role of the “Quiet Approach” and Incrementalism in Evolving State-Society Relations in China

image of The China Nonprofit Review

This paper draws on empirical research undertaken in mainland China spanning five years to examine the role of a quiet, incremental, and holistic approach adopted by grassroots NGOs as they attempt to carve out greater governance and service provision roles for themselves and influence the state. In light of this approach, it also questions the way we conceptualize the autonomy of NGOs and the search for contestation between NGOs and the state which clouds our view of more subtle yet powerful interaction. It goes on to suggest that by adjusting the lens through which we interpret the transformation of the state-society relationship, we may be able to form a clearer understanding of the wave-like development of civil society in China as the space for social organizing expands and contracts on an upward trajectory.

Affiliations: 1: Central Compilation and Translation


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