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
Chapter 17: Bureaucracy and Policy Making
Bureaucracy and Policy Making
At first glance, policy making in China appears to have somewhat of a Hobbesian quality to it. However, confidential interviews with officials at the Center and local levels, analyses of speeches and official rollouts of key policy pronouncements, access to internal document flows, and the ability to use comparative frameworks with other political systems have allowed scholars to identify and document key structures and processes that explain what occurs within the black box of policy making in China. In doing so, they have been able to transform our understanding of what may seem like highly idiosyncratic behavior (within a highly complex institutional context) into rational, quasi-predictable outcomes.
To understand policy in China ...