Winckler, Edwin A. 1941-
Winckler, Edwin A. 1941-
Born February 20, 1941. Education: Graduated from Harvard University.
Academic. Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University, New York, NY, political scientist and research scholar. Soros Reproductive Health and Rights fellow, 2003-04; lectured at Harvard University and the University of California.
(With Susan Greenhalgh) Contending Approaches to the Political Economy of Taiwan, M.E. Sharpe (Armonk, NY), 1988.
(Editor, with others) Elections in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan under the Single Non-Transferable Vote: The Comparative Study of an Embedded Institution, University of Michigan Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1999.
(Editor) Transition from Communism in China: Institutional and Comparative Analyses, Lynne Reinner Publishers (Boulder, CO), 1999.
(With Susan Greenhalgh) Governing China's Population: From Leninist to Neoliberal Biopolitics, Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA), 2005.
Edwin A. Winckler is a political scientist and researcher. He graduated with a degree from Harvard University and entered a career researching in the field of political science. Winckler works at Columbia University's Weatherhead East Asian Institute as a research scholar, focusing primarily on Taiwanese and Chinese political issues. With Susan Greenhalgh, Winckler published his first book, Contending Approaches to the Political Economy of Taiwan, in 1988.
With several other scholars, Winckler edited Elections in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan under the Single Non-Transferable Vote: The Comparative Study of an Embedded Institution in 1999. The book looks at the Japanese electoral system of single nontransferable vote (SNTV), just as it became obsolete in the country. Taiwan adopted the system after World War II and Korea used it during the 1970s and 1980s. The system, first invented in 1900, is compared across time and international borders as well as with alternative electoral systems.
Tun-jen Cheng, writing in the American Political Science Review, stated that Elections in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan under the Single Non-Transferable Vote "is thorough in answering the question of what SNTV entails (the use and consequences of this system). There is a near consensus among contributors that the system is conducive to money politics, personal voting, and factionalism," adding that the book "comes close to being a definitive study of the SNTV system." Cheng noted that "there is an interesting dialogue on the disproportionality between votes and seats under SNTV" as well as "a fascinating exchange among country-specific chapters on the fragmentation of the party system under SNTV." Cheng added that "the volume is also deft in comparing across types." Cheng did note, however, that "cross-time comparison is neglected (Winckler being a notable exception)." Cheng brought up the fact that any discussion about institutional diffusion from Japan to Taiwan and Korea was missing from the book and several of the chapters overlap in content. Cheng concluded that "these minor criticisms should not detract from the tremendous value of this astutely integrated volume, which is unquestionably the definitive book on SNTV."
That same year Winckler published Transition from Communism in China: Institutional and Comparative Analyses. The book stems from a 1993 conference of the American Political Science Association on the transitional state of several Leninist-governed countries. In addition to China, Winckler also focuses on the varied changes of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia, and North Korea, noting that some (like Mongolia in the 1990s) made drastic changes, while others (such as North Korea) made virtually none. Winckler also notes how many Asian political establishments were forced to alter their Leninist policies when external assistance from the Soviet Union and China stopped. Winckler addresses popular theories on the matter, including neoinstitutionalism, historical institutionalism, and principal-agent theory.
Dorothy J. Solinger, writing in Pacific Affairs, noted that Transition from Communism in China "is a provocative, informative, scholarly, and astute collec- tion of essays. But in the main, it is Winckler's trenchant theoretical chapters that turn it into more than just another account of how the period between socialism and some later stage is being played out in different realms of policy. For these chapters especially, this book should be read." Solinger concluded that students and scholars "of post-communist transitions will gain a wealth of insights, both theoretical and comparative, that have admirably far-reaching implications."
In 2005 Winckler published Governing China's Population: From Leninist to Neoliberal Biopolitics with Greenhalgh. The book looks at the one-child policy China adopted to obtain higher GDPs and quality of lives for its citizens. The pair provide demographic details, including dependency ratios, fertility rates, and prevalence of contraceptive use. The opening half of the book discusses the formation of the policy and how it has evolved over the years, from Mao through Hu. The book also looks at the policy results from the citizens' perspectives. In the second half, the authors cover the successes and failures of the policies from the village level.
Malcolm Thompson, reviewing the book in Pacific Affairs, called the book "important," noting the authors' "unmatched access to sources and extensive fieldwork experience." Thompson was somewhat surprised by Greenhalgh and Winckler's conclusion as to the benefits of China's one-child policy in falling in line with Western norms. He noted that "the argument is convincing, but the authors clearly view this convergence as wholly salutary: as a process of perfecting biopolitics according to neoliberal criteria." Thompson commented: "This book will be of interest to population specialists, analysts of the PRC, and anyone interested in how modern states and societies problematize and govern themselves." Chen Jianyue, writing in the China Review International, found that "a number of improvements could be made to this book. A little more thorough editing could have prevented a tendency toward repetition in the narrative text." Jianyue stated: "Questionable is Greenhalgh and Winckler's explanation of why most young Chinese parents do their best to raise their children to be successful." Jianyue also noted that "students of Communism will find that Greenhalgh and Winckler's different interpretations of Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism, Dengism, and Hu's neoliberalism fail to point out the real authoritarian nature of Communism and its institutions. Further confusing matters is the authors' identification of Deng's reformism as an ‘adaptive’ Leninism." Jianyue concluded that "this is an important, yet contentious book. The authors' interdisciplinary approach widens our perspective on the subject. But it may be a bit difficult for general readers, with its scholarly jargon and unfamiliar theories, and for scholars of modern China it offers a one-sided, if not misleading, story of how the Communist regime has governed China's growing population while trying to turn China into an economic superpower."
In a Studies in Family Planning review, Nancy E. Riley claimed that Winckler and Greenhalgh "are well situated for this undertaking. They have extraordinary knowledge of China and its politics, accumulated through years of studying China's birth planning programs and talking with those involved in implementing these programs." She wrote: "This is an important book." Riley concluded that "Greenhalgh and Winckler tell a fascinating story about the past and present extent of the influence of China's population policies. They contribute to our understanding of the processes and outcomes of policymaking in China over the past fifty years. Through the perspectives they bring to this examination, they also enrich and extend demographic knowledge. This is a dense book packed with information…. The authors make a compelling argument for examining population issues and policy in any place or time using theories and perspectives that are new to demography."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Political Science Review, March 1, 2001, Tun-jen Cheng, review of Elections in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan under the Single Non-Transferable Vote: The Comparative Study of an Embedded Institution, p. 236.
Books & Culture, May 1, 2007, Ross Douthat, review of Governing China's Population: From Leninist to Neoliberal Biopolitics, p. 28.
China Quarterly, December, 1990, Yun-Han Chu, review of Contending Approaches to the Political Economy of Taiwan, p. 738.
China Review International, spring, 2006, Chen Jianyue, review of Governing China's Population.
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, October, 1999, S.K. Ma, review of Transition from Communism in China: Institutional and Comparative Analyses, p. 404; May, 2006, G.A. McBeath, review of Governing China's Population, p. 1672.
Contemporary Sociology, January, 1990, Gary G. Hamilton, review of Contending Approaches to the Political Economy of Taiwan, p. 33; March, 2007, M. Giovanna Merli, review of Governing China's Population, p. 164.
Journal of Asian Studies, May, 1990, J. Bruce Jacobs, review of Contending Approaches to the Political Economy of Taiwan, p. 387.
Journal of Contemporary Asia, January, 1991, Alexander Irwan, review of Contending Approaches to the Political Economy of Taiwan, p. 116.
Journal of Developing Areas, January, 1990, Walter Arnold, review of Contending Approaches to the Political Economy of Taiwan, p. 252.
Journal of Economic Literature, December, 1989, review of Contending Approaches to the Political Economy of Taiwan, p. 1739.
Pacific Affairs, winter, 1989, review of Contending Approaches to the Political Economy of Taiwan; fall, 2000, Dorothy J. Solinger, review of Transition from Communism in China; spring, 2006, Malcolm Thompson, review of Governing China's Population.
Reference & Research Book News, August, 1999, review of Transition from Communism in China, p. 109; February, 2006, review of Governing China's Population.
Studies in Family Planning, December, 2006, Nancy E. Riley, review of Governing China's Population, p. 305.
Open Society Institute Web site,http://www.soros.org/ (January 25, 2008), author profile.
Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University Web site,http://www.columbia.edu/cu/weai/ (January 25, 2008), author profile.