Authoritarian legality in China : law, workers, and the state

Gallagher, Mary Elizabeth, 1969- author
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  • Creator Mary E. Gallagher
  • Format Books
  • Publication Cambridge, United Kingdom ; New York, NY : Cambridge University Press, 2017. ©2017
  • Physical Details
    • xviii, 252 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
  • ISBNs 1107444489, 9781107444485, 110708377X, 9781107083776
  • OCLC ocn987337991


  • "Can authoritarian regimes use democratic institutions to strengthen and solidify their rule? The Chinese government has legislated some of the most protective workplace laws in the world and opened up the judicial system to adjudicate workplace conflict, emboldening China's workers to use these laws. This book examines these patterns of legal mobilization, showing which workers are likely to avail themselves of these new protections and find them effective. Gallagher finds that workers with high levels of education are far more likely to claim these new rights and be satisfied with the results. However, many others, left disappointed with the large gap between law on the books and law in reality, reject the courtroom for the streets. Using workers' narratives, surveys, and case studies of protests, Gallagher argues that China's half-hearted attempt at rule of law construction undermines the stability of authoritarian rule. New workplace rights fuel workers' rising expectations, but a dysfunctional legal system drives many workers to more extreme options, including strikes, demonstrations and violence"--
  • "Authoritarian Legality at Work: The Workplace and China's Urbanization 500 million people have already left their rural hometowns for Chinese cities; when they do so they are looking for work. How work is structured has implications far beyond the Chinese workplace; workplace institutions directly influence the pace and nature of China's urbanization. This book is about the Chinese state's project to develop legal institutions to manage workplace relations. My motivation in writing about these topics and studying them for many years is the connection that the specialized institutions that regulate and manage China's labor markets have to the larger challenges of China's dual transition: from socialism to capitalism and from agriculture to industry. Labor institutions, as vehicles to structure labor markets and the workplace, are inseparable from these two transitions and the massive and unprecedentedly rapid urbanization that has accompanied them"--


  • Includes bibliographical references and index.


  • Authoritarian legality at work : the workplace and China's urbanization -- A theory of authoritarian legality -- Fire alarms and fire fighters : institutional reforms and legal mobilization at the Chinese workplace -- By the book : learning and the law -- Great expectations : the disparate effects of legal mobilization -- The limits of authoritarian legality -- Requiem for the labor contract law?