Meina Cai

Fellow’s Talk: Meina Cai on Negotiation and Land Rights in China

2021–22 UCHI Fellow's Talk. The Art of Negotiations: Legal Discrimination, the Contention Pyramid, and Land Rights Development in China. Assistant Professor, Political Science Meina Cai, with a response by Kathryn Moore. January 26, 2022, 4:00pm. Live. Online. Registration required.

The Art of Negotiations: Legal Discrimination, Contention Pyramid, and Land Rights Development in China

Meina Cai (Assistant Professor, Political Science & Asian and Asian American Studies, UConn)

with a response by Kathryn Moore (Art and Art History, UConn)

Wednesday, January 26, 2022, 4:00pm.

Live • Online • Registration required

How and how much do land-dispossessed villagers protect their property rights in a context where the legal framework discriminates against them? Contradictory to the existing research that pays much attention to protests, this research identifies negotiations as a strategy of the dispossessed to engage with local governments and improve their compensation arrangement. Negotiations, together with petitions, protests, and violence, form a pyramid-shaped structure of contention. More importantly, these negotiations focus on local specific considerations that are not specified in formal compensation policy—which I call “non-programmatic compensation” (NPC). NPC negotiations create a fragmented compensation regime that combines low, stagnant, and less locally diversified formal compensation standards with dynamic and locality-specific informal NPC negotiation deals. The arguments are developed using extensive field research, an original dataset of local land compensation policies, and surveys of rural households, rural cadres, and local government officials. It helps explain the puzzle why formal compensation policy standards remain low despite an increasing number of protests against land takings.

Meina Cai is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Asian/Asian American Studies Institute at UConn. Her research focuses on the political economy of development and institutions. She is currently working on land property rights, urbanization, and rural governance in China. She is a UCHI fellow in 2021–2022.

Kathryn Blair Moore received her PhD in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and has previously taught at Texas State University, the University of Hong Kong, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Pittsburgh. Her research and teaching span the medieval and Renaissance periods in Europe and the Mediterranean region, with a particular focus on cross-cultural exchange between Christian and Islamic cultures. Her first book, The Architecture of the Christian Holy Land: Reception from Late Antiquity through the Renaissance (Cambridge University Press, 2017), received a Prose award in art history / criticism and the Medieval Institute’s Otto Gründler Book Prize. She is currently writing a book on the emergence and development of the concept of the arabesque in a European context. Her research has been supported by grants and fellowships from Harvard University’s Villa I Tatti, the American Academy in Rome, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Council of Learned Societies.

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