SSCANTH302 China & The Dynamics of Globalization

Course description

The global rise of China is undoubtedly the most remarkable phenomenon of the first decennia of the 21st century, and in many ways incomparable with socio-economic developments in other post-socialist countries and/or third-world countries. Besides its scale and speed, China’s global rise follows a special trajectory, i.e. from a socialist, centrally planned, socialist economy into ‘state neo-liberalism’ (So & Chu 2016). The aim of this course is two-fold.
First, to provide a holistic and multilevel analysis of global rise of China, connecting the political-economic to the socio-cultural, and interrelating different local, regional, and global arenas. The course discusses from an economic anthropological perspective different theories and perspectives of globalization and its dynamics. Students learn to understand that globalization is not a single unified phenomenon but a syndrome of processes, and will attempt to capture its ontology. Manifestations of globalization include the reorganization of production and (cultural) consumption, which will be studied in different settings in China.
Second, the course is an introduction into digital anthropology. Indeed, globalization goes hand in hand with the extraordinary rise of digital technology. Digital anthropology ‘reveals how intense scrutiny of ethnography can overturn assumptions about the impact of digital culture and reveal its profound consequences for everyday life’ (Miller 2012). China’s 'technological leapfrogging' is characterized by an omnipresence of digital media (Wang 2016) as well as by a transition ‘from a manufacturing-based economy to one driven by innovation and knowledge’ (Appelbaum & Cong Cao et al 2018).
Course materials discuss from a bottom-up approach processes of urbanization and inequalities: rural-urban migration; African entrepreneurs in Guangzhou; gender relations, and ethnicity.
Lectures will supplement the readings and focus on wider processes of and theories of globalization. Students will be expected to prepare and organize class discussions.
SSCANTH302 China  The Dynamics of Globalization Course Outline - Spring 2020.pdfSSCANTH302 China The Dynamics of Globalization Course Outline - Spring 2020.pdf