Deliberative Democracy at China’s Grassroots: Case Studies of a Hidden Phenomenon

Jonathan Unger*, Anita Chan, Him Chung

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


Dictatorial China contains vivid examples of grassroots deliberative democracy on issues vital to local participants. Three elements in our case studies are relevant to programs of deliberative, participatory decision making elsewhere in the world. First, the Chinese examples have all occurred within longstanding communities. Second, the members of these communities have faced concrete issues of a type they felt they had the knowledge to resolve. And third, all of these communities had access to institutional frameworks established from above that the local populace could utilize as deliberative forums. In addition, a more distinctively Chinese factor was observed in two of our case studies: collective decisions were arrived at based on “moral economy” beliefs rooted in China’s socialist past.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-535
Number of pages23
JournalPolitics and Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2014

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Political Science and International Relations

User-Defined Keywords

  • China
  • community
  • deliberative democracy
  • egalitarian
  • moral economy


Dive into the research topics of 'Deliberative Democracy at China’s Grassroots: Case Studies of a Hidden Phenomenon'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this