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Authoritarian ContainmentPublic Security Bureaus and Protestant House Churches in Urban China$
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Marie-Eve Reny

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190698089

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190698089.001.0001

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Explaining Authoritarian Containment

Explaining Authoritarian Containment

(p.26) 1 Explaining Authoritarian Containment
Authoritarian Containment

Marie-Eve Reny

Oxford University Press

This chapter defines the concept of containment, explains how it translates in practice, and accounts for why state actors contain informal religious organizations. Containment is the conditional and bounded toleration of a religious organization outside the formal reach of the state. It is conditional insofar as actors must conform with a set of rules to be tolerated. It is bounded to the extent that religious actors conforming such bargain cannot ask the authorities for more than informal autonomy. State actors contain informal religious organizations because their interests are reconcilable with authoritarian regime resilience, and organizations are part of incohesive networks. Containment also sustains authoritarian rule in three ways: it depoliticizes religious leaders, creates divisions among compliant and dissident religious leaders, and generates information that local state actors use to make local governance less coercive and less co-optive.

Keywords:   containment, interest reconcilability, network cohesion, informal autonomy, authoritarian regime resilience

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