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Contractual thinking and responsible government in China: A constructivist framework for analysis*

Pan, Chengxin 2008, Contractual thinking and responsible government in China: A constructivist framework for analysis*, The China review, vol. 8, no. 2, Fall, pp. 33-49.

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Title Contractual thinking and responsible government in China: A constructivist framework for analysis*
Author(s) Pan, Chengxin
Journal name The China review
Volume number 8
Issue number 2
Season Fall
Start page 33
End page 49
Total pages 17
Publisher Chinese University Press (Zhongwen Daxue Chubanshe)
Place of publication Hong Kong, China
Publication date 2008
ISSN 1680-2012
Summary Responsible government is often seen as contingent on democracy. Yet despite China's continued lack of notable progress in democratization, recent years have witnessed some limited moves towards responsible governance. In the absence of free elections and other institutional arrangements, how can an authoritarian regime become responsible? This paper turns to the role of ideas and culture in general and contractual thinking in particular for an explanation. Contractual thinking, defined as a particular kind of intersubjective understanding between the government and citizens with regard to their mutual interests, is present in both China's contemporary official discourse on "responsible government" and traditional Chinese culture. Taking a constructivist approach, the paper focuses on two interrelated aspects of the role of contractual thinking in the construction of responsible government. First, it examines how contractual thinking, by helping redefine the identity and interest of the government in line with citizens' loyalty, could allow more responsible government behaviour. It then illustrates that in the case of government irresponsibility, contractual thinking sets the discursive context for rightful resistance from citizens as well as for a more sympathetic reading of such resistance by the government, both of which, the paper argues, could facilitate the development of responsible governance.
Language eng
Field of Research 160606 Government and Politics of Asia and the Pacific
Socio Economic Objective 940203 Political Systems
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2008, Chinese University Press
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30021090

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of International and Political Studies
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.