Where democracy concedes: Examining environmental civil societies in China and Japan

By: Raymond Palmer '13

Advising Faculty: Jane Dawson

A scholar in the Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment certificate program at Connecticut College, Raymond Palmer wrote this paper as his senior integrative project (SIP). 

Civil society is thought to flourish under a democracy, while they tend to whither under authoritarianism. However, a comparison between contemporary China and Japan reveal a paradoxical relationship: civil society in China under an authoritarian regime is more active than it is in Japan under a democratic one. Through case studies of China’s Shifang protests and Japan’s Minamata victims’ movement, this project attempts to understand this paradoxical relationship between political regimes and civil society in the Asian context – a realm of political science that defies many Western conceptions and has yet to be explored.

Related Fields: Environment, Global/International, Goodwin-Niering Center, Government, International Relations