Rightful Resistance in Rural China
Rightful Resistance in Rural China. By Kevin J. O'Brien and Lianjiang Li. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006. 200 pages. $70.00 cloth, $24.99 paper.
Studies of contemporary China move between two poles of presentation—richly detailed analyses of phenomena that seem specific to China and more sweeping panaromas that leap to broad generalities without always marking their steps forward clearly. Kevin J. O'Brien and Lianjiang Li offer an insightful study of collective action in contemporary China that successfully steers a course between the typical extremes. Their work is solidly anchored in years of research in the Chinese countryside, where they have conducted interviews and administered surveys, and about which they have read government documents and the press. This work also takes into account the growing amount of scholarship being produced by the Chinese themselves. And most helpful to their efforts of explaining Chinese cases to a broader audience, their analysis consistently engages the literature on collective action conceptualized principally out of studies of advanced industrial societies and the histories of those societies.