Article "Xi’s Third Way: Illiberal Institutionalization" by Björn Alpermann and Philipp C.D. Immel published at Elgar Publishing House
News from Sep 27, 2023
The article “Xi’s Third Way: Illiberal Institutionalization” by Björn Alpermann (Social Worlds: China's Cities as Spaces of Worldmaking) und Philipp C.D. Immel was recently published in the Elgar Publishing House as part of the “Handbook on Local Governance in China: Structures, Variations, and Innovations” by Ceren Ergenc and David S.G. Goodman (Ed.). Find more about the book
This volume sets out to study the major trends in Chinese local governance under Xi Jinping. The field has for a long time been dominated by studies following one of two major paradigms, namely “fragmented authoritarianism” and “authoritarian adaptability” (aka “authoritarian resilience”). However, the international literature on Xi’s ‘New Era’ presents him as a deeply transformative political leader who has substantially changed the way that China’s politics is run. Therefore, the question arises whether a different framework for understanding local governance is needed. This chapter argues that Xi Jinping has instituted a vigorous program conceptualized as illiberal institutionalization to bolster Party-rule. He managed to ram through these changes by applying a ‘shock-and-awe’ strategy with his anti-corruption drive and creating a leadership cult around his own person. In order to fully comprehend the consequences for local governance, we need to bring to bear both insights: that of increasing – though illiberal – institutionalization and that of a more personalized authority system.