>

Adaptive Social Mobilization in the Implementation of Grassroots Policy: Administrative Control and Multipolar Involvement

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No.11, 2018

 

Adaptive Social Mobilization in the Implementation of Grassroots Policy: Administrative Control and Multipolar Involvement

(Abstract)

 

Wang Shizong and Yang Fan

 

The implementation of grassroots policy is an important link in Chinese governance practice. Existing research either analyzes the reasons for alienation of policy goals and distortions in policy implementation in terms of administrative control or explores the influence of unofficial institutions on the policy process in terms of policy mobilization. The two research approaches are biased toward static and episodic analysis that confine the scope of their research to the bureaucracy, neglecting, to a greater or lesser extent, government mobilization of society. In fact, the implementation of grassroots policy in contemporary China is embedded in the governance of grassroots society, and vice versa, therefore, hierarchical control and social mobilization can complement each other. Case studies have shown that those implementing policies at the grassroots level develop different mobilization strategies depending on the relative strength or weakness of administrative control and the society’s capacity for mobilization. In the course of policy implementation, the boundaries and relationships between hierarchical control and social mobilization and between government bureaucracy and grassroots society may change in line with the demands of policy performance. This hierarchy may permeate the social network or the individual level, so that the social network becomes a part of the hierarchy. The overall process of implementation thus exhibits “adaptive social mobilization.” This finding, based as it is on the dynamic process of policy implementation, may lead to the rethinking of questions including the nature of societal governance in contemporary China. It also provides an explanation of the paradox of the mutual reinforcement of administrative control and social participation.