Gallagher, Mary Elizabeth 1969–

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Gallagher, Mary Elizabeth 1969–


Born June 26, 1969. Education: Smith College, B.A., 1991; Princeton University, M.A., 1996, Ph.D., 2001.


Office—Political Science Department, University of Michigan, 5700 Haven Hall, 505 S. State St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1045. E-mail—[email protected]


University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, department of political science, assistant professor, 2000—, faculty associate, Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations, and Center for Comparative Political Studies, Institute of Social Research, 2004—; also taught at Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA, visiting instructor in East Asian studies, spring, 2000.


MacArthur Foundation Dissertation Research Grant, 1996-97; Fulbright Research Scholar, 2003-04; National Science Foundation grant, 2004.


Contagious Capitalism: Globalization and the Politics of Labor in China, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 2005.


Mary Elizabeth Gallagher was educated at Smith College, earning her undergraduate degree in 1991, and then Princeton University, where she graduated with her doctorate in 2001. She then went on to take a position on the faculty of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where she is an assistant professor in the department of political science, as well as a faculty associate in the Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations, and the Center for Comparative Political Studies, at the University Institute of Social Research. She has also taught at several other institutions of higher learning as a visiting professor, including Bryn Mawr in Pennsylvania, and has lectured at a number of academic conferences around the world. Gallagher's primary areas of research and academic interest include comparative governments and politics, political development, and the political economy, with a particular focus on the politics, law, and society of China. She has been awarded both a Fulbright Research Award and a National Science Foundation Grant to help support the furthering of her research. Gallagher is delving into the status of labor relations and laws in China, considering how the laws and social change might affect labor relations on the whole, but in particular in Shanghai. She has surveyed households in four neighboring cities to determine legal knowledge and common attitudes regarding labor disputes and the role of the law. Her interest in labor laws and trade unions extends to the labor and economic situations in other countries, as well. She is aided in her research by her ability to speak fluent Mandarin Chinese, as well as having a fair command of both spoken and written Japanese. In addition to her academic endeavors, Gallagher is the author of Contagious Capitalism: Globalization and the Politics of Labor in China.

In Contagious Capitalism, Gallagher sets out to achieve two main goals. The first is to illustrate the ways in which the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) are participating in efforts towards reforming the economy. However, in a somewhat contrary secondary agenda, she is also suggesting that democratic politics and a liberal economy are likely partners and should go hand in hand. She sets out to prove her first point in a number of ways, including through a detailed explanation of how regional authorities have been feeling pressure due to the influence and activities of investors from other countries. If these same authorities want increased capital, they have been finding themselves in the position of moving forward with various reforms. Ultimately, Gallagher aims to illustrate the way that the working class in China is the group that suffers under economic liberalization, and it is just this fact that keeps the progression toward democracy at a standstill. Jean-Louis Rocca, in a review for the China Perspectives Web site, remarked of the book that "the analysis is thorough and supported by numerous examples. The writer shows in particular how using foreign investment helps to bypass the urban bastion and prevent the formation of private enterprises of any significant size." He went on to conclude, however, that "wishing to show that liberalism has not led to democracy in China, she then shows that it does in general. In substance, it is the absence of a private entrepreneurial class that would prevent China from attaining democracy." Peter R. Moody, Jr., writing for the Political Science Quarterly, observed that "Gallagher's book opens numerous questions for discussion. It is a useful corrective to overly facile assumptions about the connection between economic liberalization and political democracy." Lucian W. Pye, in a review for Foreign Affairs, commented of Gallagher's effort that "this is an original work of political economy, and it should stimulate much productive discussion."



China Quarterly, June, 2006, Doug Guthrie, review of Contagious Capitalism: Globalization and the Politics of Labor in China, p. 474.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, December, 2005, S.J. Gabriel, review of Contagious Capitalism, p. 708.

Foreign Affairs, January 1, 2006, Lucian W. Pye, review of Contagious Capitalism, p. 164.

International Review of Social History, April, 2007, review of Contagious Capitalism, p. 178.

Political Science Quarterly, summer, 2006, Peter R. Moody, review of Contagious Capitalism.


China Perspectives Web site, (April 17, 2008), Jean-Louis Rocca, review of Contagious Capitalism.

Mary E. Gallagher Home Page, (April 17, 2008).

Princeton University Press Web site, (April 17, 2008), author profile.

University of Michigan Political Science Department Web site, (April 17, 2008), faculty profile.