Study of Authority and Relations in Chinese Governmental Agencies and Institutional Work Units Neo-Patrimonialism in Urban Work Units

Author: Wei-Arthus, Huiying
This work is a study of authority and human relations in Chinese urban organizations before and after Mao’s era The empirically-based study shows how fundamental changes took place in social relations and the form of authorities since the end of the Cultural Revolution. It illustrates how quasi-charismatic patterns of authority under Mao have given way to practices and relationships that recall much older patrimonial authority relations at the micro-level, while the Party domination nevertheless continues to prevail politically at the macro-level.


Although kinship-oriented benefit-seeking exists in many societies and certainly is not new to China, the concept as used in this study reveals many interesting institutional characteristics of contemporary Chinese work units at the micro level&.an even more significant contribution is the authors treatment of the evolution of neo-patrimonialism through the Mao era to the post-Mao era&.This uniquely in-depth revelation of the nature of neo-patrimonialism would not be possible if the author had not grown up in China&.Holding a PhD in sociology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, the author skillfully applies anthropological and sociological analyses to the data she collected from dozens of interviewees in ten cities and two fieldwork case studies conducted in her hometown city, Kolar in Xinjiang. Personal and family contacts helped the author gain access to rich and first-hand data. Although academic in content, this study is also very interesting for the general reader, as it contains many vivid stories of ordinary Chinese people in work unit settings.  China Information

Huiying Weis analysis reveals the patterns of mutual backscratching and logrolling that underlie the new social and economic order in China. What is most acute in her analysis is the demonstration that family and other personalistic loyalties substitute directly for loyalties based on revolutionary fervor or devotion to charismatic leadership. Accordingly, her study will be informative to students of social movements and revolutionary politics, as well as to students of China in the late twentieth century more generally.  James B. Rule

She makes out her case convincingly. While the ideas are analytical, the contents are detailed. The language used is easy to understand. Apart from basing herself upon a great range and quantity of sources both English and Chinese, she also used unpublished documents and papers to enhance her argumentation. . . . this work has made a contribution to better understanding of the neo-patrimonial situation in China today. I advances our knowledge of present-day PRC.  Lai Sing Lam

Table of Contents

Table of Contents (main headings)
Map, List of Illustrations; Brief Chronology of the people’s Republic of China; Preface
1. Introduction
2. Work Units, Cadre system, and Emergence of Neo-Patrimonialism
3. The Ten-City Interview (Getting Higher Education, Changing jobs, Getting Houses, Traveling with State Funds, Going Abroad, Collective Corruption)
4. Case Study One – The Motor Vehicle Department
5. Case Study Two – The finance Bureau
6. Neo-Patrimonialism as a Consequence of Mao’s Political Campaigns
7. From Totalitarianism to Neo-Patrimonialism
8. Conclusion
Appendix A: Methodology Notes
Appendix B: Ten city Interview Questionnaire (English Translation)
Bibliography and Index