Do foreign interventions matter in changing state-society relations in China? Many scholarly models cast external interventions as “cures” for all that ails struggling local communities and activists in repressive environments by providing political opportunities or resources. Others argue that interventions are doomed to fail given strong authoritarian states such as China and Russia are simply not susceptible to foreign forces. Instead of taking either a celebratory or cynical perspective, this talk intervenes in the debate by drawing on longitudinal ethnography on HIV/AIDS politics to argue that transnational programs may expand political participation while producing and exacerbating participatory inequality, which could ironically strengthen the authoritarian apparatus of governance.
Yan Long is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a political and organizational sociologist studying the interactions between globalization and authoritarian politics across empirical areas such as civic action, health, development and technology. Her most recent article published by the American Journal of Sociology has received multiple national awards. Yan was previously an assistant professor of international studies at Indiana University, Bloomington and postdoctoral fellow at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society after obtaining her PhD in Sociology and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.