Accountability Building and Civic Engagement by Environmental Grassroots Organizations in China

The purpose of my dissertation research is to explore the interplay of neoliberalism and socio-political institutions and their impact on environmental grassroots organizations’ accountability building and civic engagement activities in an authoritarian regime such as China. This research examines participatory democracy at the organizational level. It focuses on how environmental grassroots organizations view their relationship and interact with the state, the public, and other social actors through the lens of accountability building and how they are involved in the democratic governance process such as agenda setting, deliberation, and decision-making. This research is conducted under the paradigms of social construction and a critical framework. Social construction captures nuances of contextual differences and identifies “new ways of understanding social phenomena” (Burr, 2003, p. 155). A critical framework informs this research by questioning assumptions about the neoliberalist construction of accountability and civic engagement. It also offers an alternative understanding of the role of grassroots organizations in democratic civil society.


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