Freitag, 31. Mai 2019, 09:00 - 18:00 iCal

New Forms of Evidence for the Study of Contention

New Forms of Evidence for the Study of Contention

Hofburg, Batthyanystiege, 1st Floor, Room 1.55
Michaelerplatz, 1010 Wien


What do we know about protests in China? Surprisingly much and, at the same time, very little. We know a great deal about micro-dynamics—why protests emerge, how they are coordinated, what makes their success or failure likely, and how the state defuses or represses them. We still know little about the big picture. What is the distribution of protests over space, time and contentious domains? How do state responses vary over issues, tactics and social contexts? How have protester behavior and repression evolved?


In recent years, digital newspapers, social media and even the Chinese press have brought to light an unprecedented amount of information about contentious events that researchers can exploit to answer these questions. However, this expansion goes hand in hand with increased restrictions to conducting field research in China: after two decades in which it had become progressively easier to study contention in China, field access has lately become much more difficult and unpredictable. In sum, the opportunity costs for quantitative research have fallen, while those for qualitative approaches have increased. This shifting ground of evidence brings about new opportunities and challenges for the study of contention—and for many other important topics in the China field—that have not yet been systematically addressed.


This workshop will begin such a discussion by focusing on the example of contentious politics and protest event analysis. It will help to set standards for future research by drawing on newly emerging sources. The meeting will be held at the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria on May 31, 2019. It will bring together senior, junior and mid-career experts of popular contention based in Europe, Greater China and the United States.


Department of East Asian Studies - Sinologie, University of Vienna

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Hc Steinhardt
Department of East Asian Studies - Sinologie, University of Vienna