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GCSJ seminar series: Making sense of global China

Wednesday, February 28, 2024 - 12:00 to 14:00
Online via MS Teams


The roundtable presents ongoing work of the REDEFINE project based in SSGS. China’s global rise has often been treated in ‘exceptional’ terms – that China acts as one, that it is ‘other’ to Western countries and capitalisms, and that it presents a threat to the liberal international order. Our work is framed differently by rooting China’s multiple forms of engagement in an analysis of the global economy and by looking at these relationally and comparatively. Our focus has been on the infrastructures of connectivity that Chinese firms have been investing in and/or operating in Europe; ports, railways, logistic hubs, airports. As such our take on the political economy of global China moves beyond the grand geopolitical narratives to explore the often long-standing and hidden processes of connection.

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5 minutes: Prof Giles Mohan - What is global China and why does it matter?

10 minutes: Dr Weiwei Chen - The adaptation and resilience of sister-city ties against the backdrop of external shocks:  a strategic partnership perspective

Moving beyond state-centric perspectives the paper explores the role of cities as influential players in realising Global China. We focus on the Manchester-Wuhan sister-city relationship, selected for its longstanding success, strategic diversity, and resilience against external challenges. This case study contributes to comprehending China's diverse global influence, highlighting how sub-national contexts like cities interact within the broader framework of Global China.

10 minutes: Dr Ran Hu – Bringing emotions back in: the politics of emotions in China’s infrastructure investment

Emotions are often downplayed in the analysis of Chinese investments in infrastructure as the assumption is such investment is pursued on the basis of (bounded) rationality which reflects the ‘interests’ of the actors involved. However, both the investment process and infrastructure projects are imbued with a spectrum of emotions. This paper, therefore, explores the emotional drivers behind China’s overseas infrastructure investment, and more importantly, the ways in which these emotions have constituted infrastructure development.

5 minutes: Discussant – Dr Filippo Boni

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