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Title: Limited political liberalisation in authoritarian regimes : critical journalists and the state in China
Author: Repnikova, Maria
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 8599
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This dissertation examines the process of limited political liberalisation in China by analysing the coexistence between critical journalists and the party-state under the Hu-Wen leadership. In contrast to the scholarship on authoritarianism and Chinese politics, which tends to analyse the perspectives of societal actors and the state separately from one another, this study brings the two together, unveiling the intricacies of their interactions. In the past decade, critical journalists and the party-state maintained a partnership which can be best described by a jazz ensemble metaphor. The players—critical journalists and the party-state—share a common purpose: improving their performance or governance within the existing political system. They overcome the limitations on their collaboration with ad hoc creative adjustments made in response to one another. The party-state acts as a band leader, setting the key by establishing a framework within which creative manoeuvring can take place. The study is based on unique access to politically sensitive material, including 120 in-depth interviews with critical journalists, media and crisis management experts, and government officials. It also includes multilayered textual analysis of the Chinese Communist Party journal, Qiushi, and investigative reports in two outspoken media outlets, Caijing and Nanfang Zhoumo. The data is employed to analyse the boundaries for limited political liberalisation of the media as well as how it manifests itself during major crisis events. More broadly, the dissertation draws the attention of both China and authoritarianism scholars to the significant yet neglected feature of interactive improvisation as a force that can sustain coexistence between critical actors and authoritarian states. It shows that by engaging in actor-driven analysis and illuminating the process of their interactions, we can better grasp the dynamics of authoritarianism in China and beyond. A step is made towards applying the analytical framework distilled in the China case on other authoritarian regimes by including a limited comparison to media–state relations under Gorbachev and under Putin. It shows that the variables of collaboration and improvisation are useful in explaining the different outcomes of political liberalisation reform.
Supervisor: Shue, Vivienne; Whitefield, Stephen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Social Sciences ; Civil society ; Media and Public Policy ; News media,journalism,publishing ; Political science ; International studies ; Journalism (political science) ; Public policy ; China ; authoritarianism ; media ; journalists ; party-state