As a Socialist country undergoing rapid social and economic transition, China presents a revealing case study on the role of ideology in the process of institutional change. Based on Douglass North’s theory of institutional change and on David Beetham’s theory of political legitimation, this paper argues that recent ideological reforms have been a crucial factor in sustaining the legitimacy of Communist party rule. Ideological change is conceived as a path-dependent process which helps to stabilize the social perception of transition and to frame the party’s modernization achievements. At the same time, the dominant role of ideology makes the Chinese party-state, despite its economic success, more vulnerable to legitimacy crises compared to other authoritarian regimes.
GIGA Focus Asia, 06/2018
Journal of Chinese Political Science, 23, 2018, 3, 341–363
in: Iwo Amelung / Moritz Bälz / Heike Holbig / Matthias Schumann / Cornelia Storz (eds.), Protecting the Weak in East Asia: Framing, Mobilisation, and Institutionalisation, Abingdon/New York: Routledge, 2018, 257-271
in: Iwo Amelung / Moritz Bälz / Heike Holbig / Matthias Schumann / Cornelia Storz (eds.), Protecting the Weak in East Asia: Framing, Mobilisation, and Institutionalisation, Abingdon / New York: Routledge, 2018, 1-19
Abingdon/New York: Routledge, 2018