Alternate Civilities is an anthropologist's answer to the argument that China's cultural tradition renders it incapable of achieving an open political system. Robert Weller draws on his knowledge of both China and Taiwan to show how such sweeping claims fail to take account of potential democratic stimuli among local-level associations such as business organizations, religious groups, environmental movements, and women's networks. These groups were pivotal in Taiwan's democratic transition, and they are thriving in the new free space that has opened up in China. They do not promise a clone of Western civil society, but they do show the possibility of an alternate civility.
Table of Contents
Preface -- Culture, Economy, and the Roots of Civil Change -- Legacies -- The Limits to Authority -- Business and the Limits to Civil Association -- Religion: Local Association and Split Market Cultures -- Forms of Association and Social Action -- Alternate Civilities and Political Change -- Chinese Character List