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Governing the Military: Professional Autonomy in the Chinese People's Liberation Army
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The reform process that has been underway in China the past 30 years has affected most parts of Chinese society. In regard to core branches of the civilian state administration, public administration research provides evidence of far-reaching decentralization, marketization, and a relaxation of direct political control within many policy areas. Despite the fact that the military in any Marxist-Leninist state is an indispensable part of the state administration, it is rarely included in research on the Chinese state administrations. In this dissertation, it is argued that the military is intrinsically linked to the overall political stability of the Chinese state not only because it constitutes one of the most central branches of the Chinese cadre administration, but also given its close connection to the ruling communist party. Hence it deserves greater research focus.

The overarching focus of this study is political control and governance vis-à-vis the Chinese military. Contrary to previous studies that have approached the issue of control by investigating military infringement on civilian policy making, the analysis here illustrates that the structures and the underlying logic of control are better captured by a study of the professional autonomy of the Chinese military officer corps. Professional autonomy is investigated within the military education system, given that education is a central undertaking for any profession.

By suggesting a new approach to the study of the relationship between the political entities of the state and the military, an approach which makes use of insights from both the political science subfield of public administration and the sociology of professions, this dissertation makes important theoretical and analytical contributions to the field of civil-military relations. Yet the usefulness of the actor-centered approach put forward here, which focuses on the autonomy of the profession within the organization, reaches beyond the immediate study of the military and can be used in any analysis of power relations between the political entities of the state and its administrations. This dissertation also contributes to increase the understanding of Chinese military education, which is one of the military’s most important peace time undertakings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2014. , 246 p.
Skrifter utgivna av Statsvetenskapliga föreningen i Uppsala, ISSN 0346-7538 ; 188
Keyword [en]
professionalism, political control, civil-military relations, public administration, China, cadre administration, People's Liberation Army, Chinese Communist Party, professional autonomy
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-218667ISBN: 978-91-554-8880-2OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-218667DiVA: diva2:696462
Public defence
2014-04-11, Brusewitzsalen, Statsvetenskapliga institutionen, Gamla Torget 6, Uppsala, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2014-03-18 Created: 2014-02-13 Last updated: 2014-07-21Bibliographically approved

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Ledberg, Sofia Knöchel
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