This course will examine issues related to comparative governance. It surveys and evaluates relevant literature and compares the case of China with other countries in the world, such as those in Europe and elsewhere. The goal of the readings, class lectures and discussions is to help students better understand the evolution, current status, and future directions of governance from a historical and comparative perspective.
The course will start with an introduction of the basic concepts of governance and examine such questions as: Why and how has “governance” become a buzzword in the last 30 some years? Has there really been a paradigm shift in terms of governing human society? To what extent is the concept of governance a useful analytical tool or it is simply an empty signifier? What is the meaning of governance anyway? After providing an overview of the evolution of governance of China in the second session, we will examine some key governance issues in more detailed fashion. The topics covered include coercion, extraction, incorporation, identification, regulation, steering, redistribution, democracy and global governance. Finally, we will discuss current challenges and future prospects of China’s governance system. A couple of field trips will be arranged for students to gain a practical appreciation of the challenges and complexities of governance system in China. Students are encouraged to bring in the comparative perspectives during the class discussion.