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  • Author: Emilian Kavalski
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The discussion of China's growing prominence in international life has attracted the increasing attention of policy-makers, the public and scholars alike. Usually sidelined by the mainstream, such interest in China's role and position in global politics has grown exponentially in the context of the deepening concomitant economic, social and political crises across Europe and North America – which, until very recently, were considered the traditional locales of power and influence in world politics. Indicative of the emerging weight and significance of non-Western actors on the global stage, the trend set by China seems to challenge the conventional framework of the study and practice of International Relations (IR).
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, North America
  • Author: Candice Moore
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The use of the concept of agency in relation to Africa's foreign relations has, up to now, been very limited. This has often related to the actions of individual pivotal states, such as South Africa or Libya. Indeed, there has not yet been an in depth examination of African agency in international relations, making this volume a welcome addition. Admittedly, this is an enormous subject, one that has grown in significance and relevance given the deepened involvement of actors such as China on the continent since the end of the last century. Questions started to be asked about how African states could structure their engagement with an actor so obviously superior in economic and political power. However, this is not the first time that African agency has been addressed, as these questions were previously inspired by the post-colonial experience and the analysis of enduring Great Power involvement in African affairs, during and after the Cold War.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Libya
  • Author: Karsten Giese, Erdem Dikici
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: When we talk about “China in Africa”, we should always remember to differentiate between the various actors and scales that are too often conflated and hidden behind such large and all-encompassing labels like “China” or “Africa”. Common containers and the homogenizing of diversity seldom help to broaden our knowledge or deepen our understanding of the various phenomena which can be observed at the various scales of the multiple relationships that have evolved between this East Asian country and the African continent. Moreover, it is necessary to specify the point in time or particular period we are covering in our scholarly work and that from which we draw our conclusions. Quite a few of the publications addressing China–Africa relations have succumbed to broad generalizations, neglected diversity and specificity and overlooked the temporal dimension. The last couple of years, however, have seen the emergence of a growing body of well-informed case studies on the Chinese presence across the African continent that stress the particularity and the situatedness of Chinese–African encounters and interactions in Africa. We now can rely on thick descriptions of various Chinese actors' realities on the ground in Africa that more often than not defy and counter longstanding and still very common stereotypes, such as that of China's grand strategy in the scramble for Africa or of the generally exploitative and belligerent character of Chinese economic endeavours across the African continent.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: Romain Dittgen
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Chinese economic activities in Africa have gained increased visibility in parallel to the recent acceleration of Sino-African relations. This paper, which is framed from a geographical perspective that is often absent or neglected in studies covering China–Africa, focuses on the spatial forms and dynamics. It depicts the way in which two contrasting Chinese economic entities – a state-owned company in Chad and privately owned commercial malls in Johannesburg, South Africa – engage with their respective host environments. While drawing on concepts of “liminality” as well as “heterotopias”, I argue that the modalities of the Chinese footprint are characterised both by closure and interaction, creating a dynamic tension that produces its own set of unique practices. This ambivalence between enclave and active linkages with host societies is not only perceivable from a spatial point of view, but also emerges with regard to economic strategies. In the midst of a transitional period, along with a launching and a consolidating phase, the Chinese economic entities in both case studies show signs of change in terms of behaviour and territorial foothold.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China
  • Author: Allen Hai Xiao
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The burgeoning interstate relation between China and Nigeria is in fact hiding the vulnerable condition of transnational Chinese petty entrepreneurship. Small-scale Chinese entrepreneurs in Nigeria are faced with everyday corruption practised by both Nigerian authorities and ordinary Nigerian people, the dominance of self-interest over cohesion and mutual support among the Chinese compatriots, and variations in state policies due to dynamic and changing interstate relations. To overcome their position of weakness, small-scale Chinese entrepreneurs strategize their interactions with both Nigerian and Chinese nationals. Informality is a characteristic of such interactions. Economic informality is primarily embodied in the documentation service businesses that are indebted to those popular corrupt practices in Nigeria; while social informality takes place in cyberspace. Interaction via the Internet among Chinese involved in Chinese–Nigerian businesses helps small-scale Chinese entrepreneurs to cope with fluctuations in interstate links at the macro-level and to develop a sense of community.
  • Political Geography: China, Nigeria
  • Author: Richard Aidoo, Steve Hess
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: China's non-interference policy has come under scrutiny in regards to its growing and deepening relations in Africa. The policy has come to represent an about-face from conditional assistance and investment associated with the Washington Consensus. Although often well received in much of the global South, this policy has drawn a lot of criticism from the West and others. These commentators have perceived non-interference as an opportunistic and often inconsistent instrument for enabling China's increasing access to African resources and markets. This article suggests that despite some consistent support for the rhetoric of non-interference, China's implementation of the policy has become increasingly varied and contextualized in reaction to Africa's ever-more diversified political and economic landscape since the early 2000s.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Washington
  • Author: Timothy Steven Rich, Vasabjit Banerjee
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article highlights the precarious nature of Taiwan's diplomatic relations in Africa. Whereas Cold War rationales initially benefitted Taiwan, economic interests now appear to incentivize African countries to establish relations with China. Through qualitative and quantitative data covering much of the post-World War II era, this analysis argues that economic factors have trumped political rationales for Taiwanese–African relations. In addition, this article problematizes both conceptions of diplomatic recognition and Taiwan's enduring relations with Africa.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Taiwan
  • Author: Meiqin Wang
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Current Chinese Affairs
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This article contextualises the art practice of Beijing-based artist Liu Bolin and examines ways in which his artworks illuminate the sociopolitical conditions that regulate the everyday reality of underprivileged social groups amid China's spectacular urban transformation in the 2000s. The tension between individual existence and the force of urbanization underlays Liu's most important work, entitled Hiding in the City. This performance photographic series, in which Liu covered his body thoroughly with paint so that he “disappeared” into the background, was initiated as a response towards the demolition of an artist village in Beijing where the artist resided and worked. The series has since been developed into an ambitious and years-long project in which the artist surveys the disparate urban living environment of the city, bringing to the surface dominant forces that render the existence of the individuals “invisible”.
  • Political Geography: China, Beijing
  • Author: Xiao Fang
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Issues Slovak Foreign Policy Affairs
  • Institution: Slovak Foreign Policy Association
  • Abstract: China and Central Europe have experienced similar transitions over time and have a constructive role to play in the international system, taking on responsibility for development. Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries is conducted via the “16+1” mechanism, the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st century maritime Silk Road, known as the “Belt and Road initiative.” Central European countries are EU member states and emerging economies. They are located at a geographically strategic juncture and form part of the East Asia–Transatlantic value chain. The 16+1 mechanism is helping China and Central European countries establish high level annual meetings and is encouraging the private sector, business, people-to-people exchanges. The Belt and Road initiative is providing new financing facilities, and a dialogue with the European Commission on investment plans is being launched. Studies and working groups are emerging to help set strategies, build mechanisms, allocate resources and implement policies. This article argues that the Chinese approach, i.e. the 16+1 mechanism and Belt and Road initiative, is platforms paving the way for China–Central Europe cooperation.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Politics, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Central Europe
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Issues Slovak Foreign Policy Affairs
  • Institution: Slovak Foreign Policy Association
  • Abstract: The purpose of this study is to discuss the motivations and challenges associated with China’s enhanced cooperation with Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). It perceives China’s partnership with CEE as a product of the regional diplomacy approach China also uses in relations with the rest of the world. The study concludes that China is increasingly active in shaping the foreign relations of other countries and is a more influential actor in the international arena. Therefore, a platform which unites 16 CEE countries may prove too weak to advance these countries’ interests vis-à-vis China. A more effective solution would appear to be to replace the 16+China mechanism with the more powerful EU platform.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, European Union
  • Political Geography: China, Central Europe