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NGO Strategies in an Authoritarian Context, and Their Implications for Citizenship: The Case of the People’s Republic of China

  • Jennifer Y. J. HsuEmail author
  • Carolyn L. Hsu
  • Reza Hasmath
Original Paper

Abstract

This study argues that different cities in China have different resource environments available for NGOs. Organizations react to these resource environments by constructing appropriate resource strategies, which in turn shape the characteristics and structures of the NGOs of that city. It further examines how these characteristics and structures influence the construction and performance of citizenship in an authoritarian environment. Specifically, some types of NGOs encourage Chinese citizens to be passive, while others offer a model for people to actively engage with social issues. This is aptly demonstrated in an analysis of NGOs operating across four cities—Beijing, Shanghai, Kunming, and Nanjing—which reveals three different types of resource environments and behavioral models for NGOs. We subsequently discuss the implications of each model for citizen engagement.

Keywords

NGO Volunteers Citizenship Authoritarian China 

Résumé

La présente étude avance que diverses villes de Chine mettent à disposition des ONG différents environnements de ressources. Les organisations réagissent à ces derniers en mettant sur pied des stratégies de ressource appropriées qui, en retour, définissent les caractéristiques et structures des ONG de la ville donnée. Elle examine de plus la façon dont ces caractéristiques et structures influencent le développement et le rendement de la citoyenneté dans un environnement autoritaire. De façon plus précise, certains types d’ONG encouragent les citoyens chinois à être passifs, tandis que d’autres offrent à la population un modèle d’engagement actif dans le cadre d’enjeux sociaux. Cette situation est justement démontrée dans l’analyse d’ONG exploitées dans quatre villes, Beijing, Shanghaï, Kunming et Nanjing. Celle-ci révèle trois types différents d’environnements de ressources et de modèles comportementaux à la disposition des ONG. Nous discutons plus loin des implications de chaque modèle pour l’engagement citoyen.

Zusammenfassung

In dieser Studie wird behauptet, dass NROs in verschiedenen Städten Chinas unterschiedliche Ressourcenumgebungen vorfinden. Die Organisationen reagieren auf diese Ressourcenumgebungen, indem sie angemessene Ressourcenstrategien entwickeln, die wiederum die Merkmale und Strukturen der NROs in der jeweiligen Stadt prägen. Es wird weiter untersucht, wie sich diese Merkmale und Strukturen auf die Entwicklung und Leistungsfähigkeit der Bürgerschaft in einem autoritären Umfeld auswirken. Einige Arten von NROs fordern die chinesischen Bürger zur Passivität auf, während andere den Menschen ein Modell für eine aktive Auseinandersetzung mit sozialen Problemen anbieten. Dies wird in einer Analyse von NROs in den vier Städten Peking, Shanghai, Kunming und Nanjing angemessen demonstriert, wobei drei unterschiedliche Arten von Ressourcenumgebungen und Verhaltensmodellen für NROs herausgestellt werden. Anschließend werden die Implikationen der einzelnen Modelle für das Bürgerengagement diskutiert.

Resumen

El presente estudio argumenta que diferentes ciudades en China tienen diferentes entornos de recursos disponibles para las ONG. Las organizaciones reaccionan a estos entornos de recursos construyendo estrategias de recursos apropiadas, que a su vez dan forma a las características y estructuras de las ONG de dicha ciudad. Asimismo, examina cómo estas características y estructuras influyen en la construcción y en la actuación de la ciudadanía en un entorno autoritario. Específicamente, algunos tipos de ONG alientan a los ciudadanos chinos a que sean pasivos, mientras que otros ofrecen un modelo para que las personas se impliquen de manera activa en cuestiones sociales. Esto queda ampliamente demostrado en un análisis de ONG que operan en cuatro ciudades - Beijing, Shanghai, Kunming y Nanjing - que revela tres tipos diferentes de entornos de recursos y modelos comportamentales para las ONG. Tratamos posteriormente las implicaciones de cada modelo con respecto al compromiso de los ciudadanos.

摘要

本研究讨论以下问题:在中国不同的城市里,NGO 具有不同的可用资源环境。组织通过建立适当的资源战略来应对这些资源环境,而这些战略反过来又塑造了该城市NGO的特征和结构。文章还进一步探讨了这些特征和结构如何影响专制环境中公民权的构建和表现。特别是,某些类型的NGO鼓励中国公民表现被动,而其他NGO则为人们提供主动地参与社会问题的方式。对在四座城市(北京、上海、昆明和南京)里运营的NGO进行分析,结果适当地展示了这一点,其中揭示了NGO的三种不同类型资源环境和行为模型。随后我们讨论了每种模型对于公民参与的影响。.

要約

本研究では、中国のさまざまな都市にはNGOが利用可能な別の資源があることを主張する。組織における適切な資源戦略を構築することによって、資源環境に適応させて、都市におけるNGOの構造と特徴を形成する。今後の研究では、これらの特性および構造が独裁主義的な環境における市民権の形成と実績に影響することを調査する。具体的には、NGOの種類では社会問題に積極的に関与する人々のモデルを提供しつつ、受け身の中国市民を奨励する。これはNGOの3種類の資源環境および行動のモデルを明らかにして、北京、上海、昆明、南京の4都市間で実施されるNGOの解析で適切に示される。その後、市民関与におけるそれぞれのモデルの意味について論じる。.

ملخص

تجادل هذه الدراسة أن مدن مختلفة في الصين لديها بيئات مختلفة من الموارد المتاحة للمنظمات الغير حكومية (NGO). المنظمات ترد على موارد البيئات عن طريق بناء إستراتيجيات الموارد المناسبة، التي بدورها تشكل خصائص وهياكل المنظمات الغير حكومية (NGO) من تلك المدينة. تدرس أيضا كيف أن هذه الخصائص والهياكل تؤثر على البناء واأداء المواطنة في بيئة إستبدادية. على وجه التحديد، بعض أنواع من المنظمات الغير حكومية (NGO) تشجع المواطنين الصينيين إلى أن يكونوا سلبيين، في حين أن البعض الآخر يقدم نموذج للناس للمشاركة بنشاط مع القضايا الإجتماعية. يتجلى هذا على نحو مناسب في تحليل المنظمات الغير حكومية (NGO) العاملة في أربع مدن - بكين وشنغهاي وكونمينج، ونانجينج- الذي يكشف عن ثلاثة أنواع مختلفة من موارد بيئات ونماذج سلوكية للمنظمات الغير حكومية (NGO). نحن بعد ذلك نناقش الآثار المترتبة على كل نموذج لإشراك المواطنين.

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (430-2012-0066).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Y. J. Hsu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Carolyn L. Hsu
    • 2
  • Reza Hasmath
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyColgate UniversityHamiltonUSA

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