annenberg.usc.edu Project overview Rapid economic development and industrialization in China, accompanied by environmental degradation and serious cost on society the 12 th Five-Year Plan – towards a greener economy Environment collective action in rural China A report by the Ministry of Environment Protection A dearth of research about rural-based environmental movements
annenberg.usc.edu Overarching questions In what context, is it true that social movements are more likely to happen when there are enough ICTs to be used? Can we perceive empowering effect of ICTs? What is the case in authoritarian countries where there are fewer channels for citizens to participate in public affairs? What are the political implications? Research questions What and how ICTs are used by rural residents for environmental collective action? Rural residents’ attitudes toward using ICTs for environmental collective action? How local state agencies respond? How is ICT- mediated environmental collective action influencing the relations between the local government and socety
annenberg.usc.edu Village Qiugang Village Wanggang
A model guide by fuzzy-set analysis approach Leadership and solidarity among villagers Villagers’ experience in using ICTs in their daily life Villagers’ trust in local governments Villagers’ perceptions of ICTs’ role Status of ICT development in the community ICT-mediated environmental collective action Villagers’ trust in local governments
annenberg.usc.edu Main Findings Communication channels were available; while villagers had low motive to utilize ICTs to engage with the government and its agencies. The awareness of ICTs’ role sis low. However, evidence was found that ICTs were chiefly instrumental in disseminating knowledge and information about environmental policies and laws among rural residents. (village Q) Mobile phone was found to be the most frequently used.
annenberg.usc.edu Main Findings Villagers’ strategic ICT use through NGOs staff (village Q) There is a urgent need for information transparency Respondents at Q - a more balanced view about their relations with the government Respondents at W - relatively lower trust in local government’s credibility
annenberg.usc.edu Level of ICT development did not correlate to the utilization of ICTs for environmental movement on a collective basis Other factors would function as barriers to prevent villagers from uniting as a collective to work towards public goods affordability of ICTs, awareness of ICT’s role in organization, documentation and information gathering, level of knowledge about related policies and laws, existence of leadership and solidarity in the community, perceived political will of the local government to support rural residents, and literacy
annenberg.usc.edu Policy Recommendation The local government should coordinate all the interest parties to create a joint network for environmental protection. ICTs should be utilized to create a platform for all the stakeholders to interact.
annenberg.usc.edu Policy Recommendation The state should ensure that the information transparency is implemented by governments at the grassroots levels. For researchers: need to re-evaluate the approach of analyzing state-society relations, as they are not dichotomous. With ICTs providing a more interactive platform, certain dimensions of state power has more to do with the capability of the government to work through and with other social actors.