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See detailChina, 1978-2013: from one Plenum to another. Reflections on hopes and constraints for reform in the Xi Jingping era
Florence, Eric ULg

E-print/Working paper (2014)

Why is it so difficult to talk about China in a nuanced and contrasting manner without falling back on superlatives and generalisations? In about thirty years, China’s GDP per capita has multiplied by ... [more ▼]

Why is it so difficult to talk about China in a nuanced and contrasting manner without falling back on superlatives and generalisations? In about thirty years, China’s GDP per capita has multiplied by eight. From a marginal economic power during the Maoist period (1949-1978), China is now ranked tenth in terms of global economic weight. “Wealth and power” (fu qiang) is the expression that embodies China’s quest for modernity since the second half of the 19th century, when China was still under the yoke of the West. This ambition is still at the heart of the “Chinese dream of rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” dear to Xi Jinping, which he set out during the Third Plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. But focusing only on this vision of “wealth and power” takes us back to one of the most common ways of representing China: reducing the ongoing socio-economic changes and dynamics to a set of numeric values, ultimately reified and homogenised. The increased power and internationalisation of the Chinese economy has prompted a combination of worry and enthusiasm. What does this imply about the paradigm shift in the way we portray this country? Perhaps it is still hard to leave behind the image of a subordinate, poor and voiceless China and consider the Chinese people as, at least, our equals. [less ▲]

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See detailMigration in post-socialist China: cultural struggles, narration and the shaping of identities
Florence, Eric ULg

Scientific conference (2014, April 30)

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See detailAprès le Communisme
Florence, Eric ULg

in Vie des Idées (La) (2014)

Souvent traités séparément, les cas chinois et européens de l’Est sont abordés conjointement dans un ouvrage interdisciplinaire consacré aux institutions politiques et sociales, aux transformations socio ... [more ▼]

Souvent traités séparément, les cas chinois et européens de l’Est sont abordés conjointement dans un ouvrage interdisciplinaire consacré aux institutions politiques et sociales, aux transformations socio-économiques et aux relations entre État et société. L’angle d’approche tend à présenter l’action de l’État-Parti en Chine sous un jour favorable. [less ▲]

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Peer Reviewed
See detailCompte rendu de "De Proche en proche. Ethnographie des formes d’association en Chine contemporaine"
Florence, Eric ULg

in Perspectives Chinoises (2014), 1(2014), 77-79

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See detailStudying power relations and problematizing 'politics' in China
Florence, Eric ULg

Scientific conference (2014, March 05)

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See detailChine: espoirs et incertitudes à l'ère de Xi Jinping
Florence, Eric ULg

Article for general public (2014)

Pourquoi est-il si difficile de parler de la Chine de manière nuancée, contrastée, sans tomber dans le registre du superlatif et de la généralisation ? À l’occasion d’un important plénum du Parti ... [more ▼]

Pourquoi est-il si difficile de parler de la Chine de manière nuancée, contrastée, sans tomber dans le registre du superlatif et de la généralisation ? À l’occasion d’un important plénum du Parti communiste chinois, le point sur la puissance qui monte [less ▲]

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Peer Reviewed
See detailThe recent labour unrest in China and the politics of handling collective mobilization by the Party-state
Florence, Eric ULg

in Brown, Kerry (Ed.) The EU-China Relationship: European Perspectives (2014)

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See detailThe politics of labor collective mobilization in South China
Florence, Eric ULg

Scientific conference (2013, November 22)

There has been in the last decade an increase in collective mobilization around labour in China. A growing body of scholarship shows that, in addition to the increase in the number of protests, these ... [more ▼]

There has been in the last decade an increase in collective mobilization around labour in China. A growing body of scholarship shows that, in addition to the increase in the number of protests, these social movements have often also grown in scale and that protesters have become increasingly capable of articulating collective interests within their struggles. This presentation reviews these trends through a combination of scholarly literature review and ethnographic work. [less ▲]

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See detailRepresenting rural migrants in films: an exploration of the subjectivities and agency of rural migrants in independant Chinese documentaries
Florence, Eric ULg

Scientific conference (2013, July 03)

One of the defining features of Chinese new documentaries is the relationship which the filmmakers build with the subjects they are filming thanks to their bottom-up perspectives. In this paper, I will ... [more ▼]

One of the defining features of Chinese new documentaries is the relationship which the filmmakers build with the subjects they are filming thanks to their bottom-up perspectives. In this paper, I will discuss Lü Xinyu’s argument that new documentary filmmakers have allowed “the power of reality to inter into their films” and that this reality “thereby exceeds their subjective will as filmmakers” (Lü 2010: 28). More specifically, by looking at how rural migrant workers are represented in these films, I will argue that new documentaries provide a very valuable vantage point in order to engage with the rich and at once highly contradictory dimension of rural migrant workers’ identity and agency made of aspirations, hopes, but also frustration, and hardship. [less ▲]

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See detailExploring the cultural politics of labour in South China
Florence, Eric ULg

Scientific conference (2013, June 20)

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See detailMigrant labour Culture in Post-Mao China
Florence, Eric ULg

in Books and Ideas (2013)

Against a backdrop of economic growth and growing spate of collective actions, rural migrant workers have developed narratives of migrant labour. This essay studies articles, diaries, poems and online ... [more ▼]

Against a backdrop of economic growth and growing spate of collective actions, rural migrant workers have developed narratives of migrant labour. This essay studies articles, diaries, poems and online songs asserting their collective subaltern identity and specific norms and values. [less ▲]

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See detailCensure, liberté d’expression et dynamiques sociopolitiques en Chine contemporaine
Florence, Eric ULg

in Culture, le Magazine Culturel de l'Université de Liège (2013)

Comment rendre compte de la complexité de la question de l’expression d’une parole publique et politique en Chine contemporaine autrement que par le biais d’une opposition frontale entre expression et ... [more ▼]

Comment rendre compte de la complexité de la question de l’expression d’une parole publique et politique en Chine contemporaine autrement que par le biais d’une opposition frontale entre expression et répression ? Dans cette contribution, se penchant sur le cas de la presse et des nouveaux médias, l’auteur propose une approche de cette question mettant l’accent sur les rapports de force, les oppositions et les accommodements entre l’État-Parti et les différentes catégories de la population chinoise, ainsi que sur les luttes symboliques et matérielles qui animent la société chinoise aujourd’hui. [less ▲]

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See detail« Aigre, sucré, amer et épicé » Comment les travailleurs migrants racontent leurs expériences de vie et de labeur en Chine
Florence, Eric ULg

Scientific conference (2013, February 03)

Les migrations de ruraux vers les villes chinoises concernent aujourd’hui de 150 à 200 millions de personnes. Comment ces travailleurs migrants racontent-ils leurs expériences de vie, de labeur «de sang ... [more ▼]

Les migrations de ruraux vers les villes chinoises concernent aujourd’hui de 150 à 200 millions de personnes. Comment ces travailleurs migrants racontent-ils leurs expériences de vie, de labeur «de sang et de sueur», leurs aspirations et leurs espoirs ? Comment réinventent-ils leur village natal entre un milieu urbain souvent idéalisé et une expérience quotidienne faite d’indignité, de marginalisation et de précarité ? Quelles formes prennent les processus de construction de leur identité collective et comment ces processus s’articulent-ils aux luttes menées au quotidien pour défendre leurs droits ? Nous tenterons de répondre à ces questions en allant au plus près des vies de ces travailleurs à travers un exposé vivant, parsemé d’extraits de films, de chansons et autres récits populaires. [less ▲]

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See detail"Illegalisation, visibilisation and appropriation: a few thoughts on the politics of migrant labor in South China"
Florence, Eric ULg

Conference (2012, October 26)

Practices of legal and bureaucratic categorisation, as well normative practices of naming are key within the endless construction and reinvention of nation-states. Such practices are part of larger and ... [more ▼]

Practices of legal and bureaucratic categorisation, as well normative practices of naming are key within the endless construction and reinvention of nation-states. Such practices are part of larger and complex configurations of power along with institutions, more or less formal-informal practices of social control and governing. Today’s production and circulation of categories such “illegal migrant”, “refugee”, “young delinquent”, etc. need to be thought of in relation to categories such as “the national citizen” and the core values and principles attached to such categories. In this paper, I will explore how the dialectics of legality-illegality ─ and practices of visibilisation and invisibilisation ─ can be problematized in relation to a dual process: the ritual affirmation of the Party-state authority and the identity formation of rural migrant workers in South-China. I will argue that such politics ought to be read within the political economy of South-China or what Lee Ching-Kwan has called “decentralized legal authoritarianism” (Lee 2007). By looking at the production and circulation of the category of “the three no’s” (sanwu), I will show that the ambiguity and the flexibility of how this category is used is central in order to account for its symbolic and performative power. [less ▲]

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See detail« ‘Quitter le village pour emprunter le chemin vers le Sud’ : luttes hégémoniques autour de catégories d’émancipation en Chine ».
Florence, Eric ULg

Conference (2012, October 25)

Dans un article de 2002, Jean and John Comarrof se penchent sur les « contradictions expérientielles » de ce qu’ils appellent un « capitalisme millénariste », c’est-à-dire « un capitalisme investi d’une ... [more ▼]

Dans un article de 2002, Jean and John Comarrof se penchent sur les « contradictions expérientielles » de ce qu’ils appellent un « capitalisme millénariste », c’est-à-dire « un capitalisme investi d’une force salvatrice » devant permettre la transformation des marginalisés et des subalternes » (Jean Comaroff and John Comaroff, « Alien-Nation : Zombies, Immigrants, and Millenial Capitalism », The South Atlantic Quarterly, n° 101, 4, Fall 2002). L’étude du fonctionnement du capitalisme flexible en Chine, avec son processus d’accumulation résultant de la combinaison de mécanismes institutionnels hérités du maoïsme et de mécanismes de marché, permet de se pencher sur les ruses du capitalisme, sur les redéploiements de modes complexes de gouvernement et de domination et sur les modes d’accommodement et de résistances des individus et groupes sociaux. Dans cette communication, j’explore des modes de domination qui, en parallèle avec la répression routinière et les régimes de production disciplinaires, agissent de façon complexe parce qu’ils sont basés sur des catégories d’émancipation et qu’ils travaillent au niveau des espoirs individuels de changement de condition, agissant au niveau des catégories de sens commun ou pratiques dans un contexte où le développement des forces productives et du marché constitue un champ idéologique intensément investi par les élites urbaines et l’Etat-parti. En me penchant sur les modalités de mise en récit et de luttes autour de la migration et du travail en ville─ mobilisations stratégiques, accommodements, renversements et chevauchements hégémoniques ─, j’entends montrer comment les expériences et récits des travailleurs migrants chinois s’articulent au sein d’un projet hégémonique de légitimation de l’ordre social et d’extraction de la plus value. Pour appréhender ce processus, je mobiliserai la notion de « cadre hégémonique » (Roseberry) entendu comme projet politique visant à établir un cadre matériel et discursif commun afin de cadrer et d’organiser la colère, la frustration mais aussi les espoirs, les aspirations et les désirs. [less ▲]

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See detail“The cultural politics of migrant labour rights in South China: from narrating the “dagong” to online boundary-spanning”
Florence, Eric ULg

Scientific conference (2012, September 05)

For the last two decades, in a context of combined flexible capitalism and “decentralized legal authoritarianism” (Lee Ching-Kwan, Against the Law), factories of the Pearl River Delta have been witnessing ... [more ▼]

For the last two decades, in a context of combined flexible capitalism and “decentralized legal authoritarianism” (Lee Ching-Kwan, Against the Law), factories of the Pearl River Delta have been witnessing a growing spate of collective actions by rural migrant workers. In this paper the narrative categories and “frames of contention” mobilized by migrant workers in claim-making will be investigated. The focus is put chiefly on two differently mediated genres of narratives, i.e. migrant workers’ narratives in magazines on the one hand, and more recent online written practices centred on the politics of rights and identity on the other hand. Such cultural politics of migrant labour has been insufficiently taken into account when considering the greater right awareness and surge in collective mobilization in China for the last decade. The paper develops the argument that workers’ written practices within magazines help constituting a space for struggle and negotiation around major values, state polities and legislation linked to workers’ rights. Secondly, drawing on the notion of “disorderly media” (Latham), it is argued that some of the online written practices by migrant workers may provide platforms for more radical articulations of the politics of rights and collective mobilization. What are the points of discursive rupture and contention around which processes of reversal, reapropriation, affirmation or euphemization occur? What kinds of material, socioeconomic and political relations do these identification and legitimization processes reveal? These are the questions that will be investigated. A vast body of data are used for this paper, including songs and poems by rural workers, participant observation, in-depth interviews, published and unpublished letters to the editor of several migrants’ magazines, etc. [less ▲]

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See detailTowards a New Development Paradigm in Twenty-First Century China. Economy, Society and Politics
Florence, Eric ULg; Defraigne, Pierre

Book published by Routledge (2012)

This book argues that the current state of China requires an important paradigm shift in the way the party-state manages the country’s development, and goes on to assess the fitness of the party-state for ... [more ▼]

This book argues that the current state of China requires an important paradigm shift in the way the party-state manages the country’s development, and goes on to assess the fitness of the party-state for implementing such a paradigm shift and the likelihood of the party-state bringing this about. It brings together an examination of the very latest situation in a range of key areas where current developments have the potential to undermine substantially the status quo, areas such as the recent economic crisis and the resulting economic slowdown, increasing labour unrest, mounting calls for social justice, worsening urban-rural disparity, the urgent need to implement social welfare programmes, the rise of civil society, and the impact of new media. Overall, the book provides a thorough appraisal of the difficulties which China currently faces. [less ▲]

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