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IFCO 2385 - Capitalism today: learning from the divergent paths in the chinese world

Type d'enseignement : Lecture alone

Semester : Spring 2016-2017

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English

Voir les plans de cours et bibliographies


Basic knowledge of China's history and geography

Course Description

At a time when China is the world's second economy, assessing its path to capitalist development has become pressing. Instead of focusing exclusively on the policy of reform and opening up launched in the People's Republic of China, this course intends to reframe this path with those of other Chinese societies (Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and overseas communities). Actually, it is within an interlacing of continuities and breaks, of re-appropriated models and ideologies that we are to analyze Chinese capitalisms. This comparative perspective will lead to better understanding the multiple and complementary figures of contemporary capitalisms. By capitalism we do not intend a well-defined system, but rather a way of organizing societies. In capitalist societies, seeking profit and accumulating wealth are the determinant activities, the control of the means of accumulation being into the hands of a specific class. As such, the so-called contradictions of Chinese capitalisms are not to be considered as an anomaly but have to be identified as varieties of capitalism. Tracing various forms of capitalism leads to analyzing their very historicities and to taking into account local specificities.


  • DOYON, Jérôme L. (PhD Student)
  • MENGIN, Françoise (Directrice de recherche)
  • ROCCA, Jean-Louis (Chargé de recherches, CERI)

Course validation

1. Paper, Due April 26, 50% 2. Final written test, 50%

Required reading

  • Françoise Mengin, Fragments of an Unfinished War: Taiwanese Entrepreneurs and the Partition of China (London: Hurst; New York: Oxford University Press, 2015)
  • Aihwa Ong and Donald M. Nonini (eds), Ungrounded Empires: The Cultural Politics of Modern Chinese Transnationalism (New York, London: Routledge,1997)
  • Kenneth Pomeranz, The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2000)
  • Jean-Louis Rocca, The Making of the Chinese Middle Class: Small Confort and Great Expectations (New York: Palgrave, 2016)

Plans de cours et bibliographies

  • Session n°1: 25 January 2017: What is capitalism? European and Chinese trajectories in the 18th and 19th centuries.  
  • Session n°2: 1  February 2017: Foreign imperialisms and the formation of a sino-foreign capitalism in China (1842-1945)
  • Session n°3: 8 February 2017: From state capitalism to the Maoist a-economic utopia: the socialist experience (1949-1976).  
  • Session n°4: 22 February 2017: From state capitalism to the Taiwanese so-called developmental state: industrialization without a working class (1949-1978).
  • Session n°5: 1 March 2017: The launch of reforms in China: capitalism in margins of socialism (1979-1989).
  • Session n°6: 8 March 2017: Market socialism: a variant of capitalism (1990-2015).  
  • Session n°7: 15 March 2017: The political winding role of the Chinese capitalism.  
  • Session n°8: 22 March 2017: Taiwanese and Hongkongese entrepeneurs exploiting Chinese labor force.
  • Session n°9: 29 March 2017: Overseas Chinese communities and Chinese transnationalism: the Pacific Rim capital.
  • Session n°10: 5 April 2017: China and the world.  .
  • Session n°11: 12 April 2017: Challenges facing China’s capitalism
  • Session n°12: 19 April 2017: How do Chinese trajectories contribute to understanding capitalism?.