Outsourcing Repression: Everyday State Power in Contemporary China
How do states coerce citizens into compliance while simultaneously minimizing backlash? In Outsourcing Repression, Lynette H. Ong examines how the Chinese state engages nonstate actors, from violent street gangsters to nonviolent grassroots brokers, to coerce and mobilize the masses for state pursuits, while reducing costs and minimizing resistance. She draws on ethnographic research conducted annually from 2011 to 2019 - the years from Hu Jintao to Xi Jining, a unique and original event dataset, and a collection of government regulations in a study of everyday land grabs and housing demolition in China. Theorizing a counterintuitive form of repression that reduces resistance and backlash, Ong invites the reader to reimagine the new ground state power credibly occupies. Everyday state power is quotidian power acquired through society by penetrating nonstate territories and mobilizing the masses within. Ong uses China’s urbanization scheme as a window of observation to explain how the arguments can be generalized to other country contexts.
Bio: Lynette H. Ong is Professor of Political Science at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, the University of Toronto. Her research lies at the intersection of state power, contentious politics, and the political economy of development. She is a China/Asia specialist. She has held postdoctoral and visiting fellowships at Harvard University’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, respectively. She is the author of Outsourcing Repression: Everyday State Power in Contemporary China (Oxford University Press, 2022), The Street and the Ballot Box: Interactions between Social Movements and Electoral Politics in Authoritarian Contexts (Cambridge University Press, Elements Series in Contentious Politics, 2022), and Prosper or Perish: Credit and Fiscal Systems in Rural China (Cornell University Press, 2012). Her publications have also appeared in Perspectives on Politics, Comparative Politics, Foreign Affairs, among other outlets.