Date of Award

Spring 5-3-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Michelle Mood

Second Advisor

Ruth Dunnell

Abstract

The relationship between the Tibetans and the Chinese state is often misunderstood as a dualistic antagonism between two ideologically unified groups. However, this relationship is in fact quite complex, formed over time through interactions between various players and interests. This paper investigates the interdependent nature of the relationship between the Tibetans and the Chinese state and reveals the dynamism of Tibetan protest that emerges from this relationship. Utilizing various theories of policymaking as well as social movement theory, I analyze the progression of Tibetan contention through four periods of the relationship between the Tibetans and the Chinese state: liberal (1950-1958), Maoist (1959-1979), liberal (1980-1989), and repressive (1990 until the present). The progression through each of these periods demonstrates a feedback relationship in which the methods of citizen protest reflect the framework for claim making as defined by the state and this framework for claim making is in turn redefined in response to contention.

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