The study of contemporary China constitutes a fascinating yet challenging area of scholarly inquiry. Recent decades have brought dramatic changes to China's economy, society and governance. Analyzing such changes in the context of multiple disciplinary perspectives offers opportunites as well as challenges for scholars in the field known as contemporary China Studies. The SAGE Handbook of Contemporary China is a two-volume exploration of the transformations of contemporary China, firmly grounded in the both disciplinary and China-specific contexts. Drawing on a range of scholarly approaches found in the social sciences and history, an international team of contributors engage with the question of what a rapidly changing China means for the broader field of contemporary China studies, and identify areas of promising future research. Part 1: Context: History, Economy, and the Environment Part 2: Economic Transformations Part 3: Politics and Government Part 4: China on the Global Stage Part 5: China's Foreign Policy Part 6: National and Nested Identities Part 7: Urbanization and Spatial Development Part 8: Poverty and Inequality Part 9: Social Change Part 10: Future Directions for Contemporary China Studies
Politics and Government: Introduction
Scholarly trends over the past thirty years have tended to draw their research questions based on assessments of where the CCP and China more broadly seem to be headed politically. For many years after the CCP's existential crisis in 1989, it was common for scholars of Chinese politics to analyze the social and institutional sources of political reforms. Village elections, commercial, print and electronic media, and private sector businesses were among the most common areas of such inquiry. The search for sources of political reform was soon enough supplanted by scholarship that posed the opposite question – what accounted for the resilience of the CCP and its seeming ability to weather China's sweeping social and economic changes, ...