Mismatched Discourse in Petition Offices of Chinese Courts

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-241
Journal / PublicationLaw and Social Inquiry
Volume41
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Abstract

Based on participation observations and interviews with petitioners and petition officials in Chinese courts, this article analyzes how the petitioning discourse is organized and how it influences the dispute resolution process. It finds that the discourses between the petitioners and the petition officials are mismatched. The petitioners fight to frame their disputes in legal terms, while the petition officials use a “channeling discourse” to divert the petitioners to legal or extralegal institutions. The two types of discourse barely confront each other; nor are the substantive issues seriously debated. Since being channeled into other institutions does not resolve their disputes, petitioners start calling their petitioning experiences as injurious, blaming officials, and making new claims. Disputes are thus reproduced. The research sheds light on the petitioners’ legal consciousness and the operation of the petition system in China, and explores the contextual reasons why the phenomenon of mismatched discourses occurs in China.

Citation Format(s)

Mismatched Discourse in Petition Offices of Chinese Courts. / He, Xin; Feng, Yuqing.

In: Law and Social Inquiry, Vol. 41, No. 1, 2016, p. 212-241.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review