“To Take the Law as the Public”: The Diversification of Society and Legal Discourse in Contemporary China

  • Ji Weidong
Part of the The Sciences Po Series in International Relations and Political Economy book series (SPIRP)


According to a Durkheimian perspective of sociology, traditional China was a segmented society. In order to maintain the coherence of the country as a whole, it was therefore necessary to define a single set of dominant values and reify these values in the state’s unified bureaucratic organization. However, often, symbolic interactions that were founded on webs of meaning and personal ties played a much more important role than bureaucratic organization in China’s social ordering. This resulted in another kind of “organic solidarity”—one based on sustained relationships and mutual help shaped by long-term networking.


Procedural Justice Legal Order Legal Reform Spontaneous Order Judicial Independence 
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Copyright information

© Stéphanie Balme and Michael W. Dowdle 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ji Weidong

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