Public defence: Honorary Cooptation: A Study of Selected Elites in the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conferences

Master Rebekka Åsnes Sagild at the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages will defend her dissertation Honorary Cooptation: A Study of Selected Elites in the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conferences for the degree of philosophiae doctor (PhD).

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This dissertation examines the relationship between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and a broader set of political elites, namely members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conferences (CPPCCs). 

Akin to other modern authoritarian states, the CCP lays claim to supporting and maintaining democratic elements in the Chinese political system. Whether elections, political parties, or legislatures, the institutions of modern autocracies are designed to support and prolong authoritarian rule, and the ability to navigate and cooperate with various political forces is, in effect, critical for non-elected rulers. 

In contrast to previous research, this dissertation focuses on core aspects of the CPPCCs membership and participatory arrangements. Sagild's research examines the process of selecting, inviting and ascribing a role to members of the CPPCCs, as an approach to answering some fundamental questions that center on the CPPCCs as resilient institutions for elite cooptation. 

The findings demonstrate that although such institutions do not represent a form of political power sharing, the CCP manages to select, invite and keep non-Party elites active by obligation while retaining the authority to decide when to use the outcome of such institutions' activities. By accepting to join such institutions, members in turn provide tacit or active support to the CCP's one-party rule. Finally, this thesis argues that honor, i.e. the symbolic aspects of CPPCC-membership is an important part of the CPPCCs function, and thus, explanation for their durability.

The defence will take place in Georg Sverdrups hus, auditorium 2, on Friday 4 February, 10:15 a.m. Due to limited audience capacity and to facilitate infection tracking, those who wish to attend the defence in person must sign up in advance. It is also possible to follow the defence via livestream.

Audience registration


Request a digital copy of the dissertation.

Trial lecture

Designated topic: "Trends in political representation in China under Xi Jinping"


Evaluation committee

Professor emeritus Stig Thøgersen, Aarhus University (first opponent)

Associate Professor Emilie Frenkiel, Université Paris Est Créteil (second opponent)

Associate Professor Koen Wellens, University of Oslo (committee administrator)

Chair of the defence

Professor Ane Ohrvik


Professor Rune Svarverud, University of Oslo

Professor Anna Lisa Ahlers, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin

Dr. Oscar Almén, Uppsala University

Published Jan. 19, 2022 3:37 PM - Last modified Feb. 18, 2022 10:34 AM