Setting the Theoretical Scene

  • Jude Howell
  • Xiaoyuan Shang
  • Karen R. Fisher


Chapter two sets out the theoretical and conceptual framework that informs the research and analysis of accountability and participation in child welfare organisations in China. It begins by providing a review of relevant literature on accountability and legitimacy, noting the predominance of research related to democratic states and to government—citizen relations. It then explores the existing literature, albeit limited, on accountability and legitimacy in authoritarian states. The chapter highlights and combines theories that address the multidimensional nature of accountability, theories that link accountability with participation, and theories that throw light on systemic biases against the marginalised, vulnerable and poor in accountability. The chapter locates the discussion of accountability within a broader theoretical framework around processes of institutional change in authoritarian contexts, notably China.


Accountability Participation Legitimacy Authoritarianism Institutional change Theories 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jude Howell
    • 1
  • Xiaoyuan Shang
    • 2
  • Karen R. Fisher
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of International DevelopmentLondon School of Economics and Political ScienceLondonUK
  2. 2.Social Policy Research CentreUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Social Policy Research CentreUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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