Lawyers, Political Embeddedness, and Institutional Continuity in China’s Transition from
Author(s): Ethan Michelson
Source: American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 113, No. 2 (September 2007), pp. 352-414
Published by: The University of Chicago Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/518907 .
Accessed: 29/09/2013 06:25
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Lawyers, Political Embeddedness, and
Institutional Continuity in China’s Transition
Indiana University, Bloomington
This article uses the case of Chinese lawyers, their professional troubles, and their coping strategies to build on and develop the concept
of political embeddedness. Data from a ﬁrst-of-its-kind 25-city survey suggest that political embeddedness, deﬁned broadly as bureaucratic, instrumental, or affective ties to the state and its actors,
helps Chinese lawyers survive their everyday difﬁculties, such as
routine administrative interference, ofﬁcial rent seeking, and police
harassment and intimidation. The article draws the ironic conclusion
that legal practice in China reveals at least as much about the enduring salience of socialist institutions as it does about incipient...