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IFCO 2385 - Chinese capitalisms in Historical perspective

Type d'enseignement : Lecture alone

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English

Voir les plans de cours et bibliographies



Course Description

At a time when China is extending its influence in all aspects of world affairs, 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). 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. But, at the same time, the destructive nature of capitalist accumulation leads to social conflicts and political struggles, and requires policies aimed at maintaining social stability. In order to understand Chinese capitalisms, it is therefore necessary to go far beyond economic facts and to analyze the social structures and the political dynamics within which the former are embedded. As such, the so-called contradictions of Chinese capitalisms are to be considered neither as abnormalities nor as models. Tracing various forms of capitalism leads to analyzing their very historicities and to taking into account local specificities. This comparative perspective will help to better understand the multiple and complementary figures of contemporary capitalisms.


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

Course validation

1/ Paper: 40%. A book review: pick one pair of books among the list, and critically analyze them. Due March 31, 2018. To be sent to the Teaching Assistant exclusively (,000-3,500 words (in Word format exclusively). 2/ Final written test: 60%. Two hours: the student will have to answer four questions. Grading criteria for paper and test: - A clear direction for your paper and accurate answers for the test. - Do you seriously consider arguments other than those you make? Do you address evidence that does not support your position? - Clarity of presentation. Can a reader easily identify your main points? Are the ideas presented elaborated sufficiently? Are there sigh-posts to guide the reader? Are terms defined?

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)
  • Jean-Louis Rocca, A Sociology of Modern China (London: Hurst; 2015)
  • Jean-Louis Rocca, The Making of the Chinese Middle Class: Small Comfort and Great Expectations (New York: Palgrave; 2017)

Plans de cours et bibliographies

  • Session 1: 31 January 2018: What is capitalism? European and Chinese trajectories in the 18th and 19th centuries.
  • Session 2: 7 February 2018: Foreign imperialisms and the formation of a Sino-foreign capitalism in China (1842-1945).
  • Session 3: 14 February 2017: From state capitalism to the Taiwanese so-called developmental state: industrialization without a working class (1949-1978).  
  • Session 4: 21 February 2018: From "non-market state capitalism" to the "Maoist totalitarianism": the socialist experience (1949-1976).
  • Session 5: 7 March 2018: The launch of reforms in China: capitalism in margins of socialism (1979-1989).
  • Session 6: 14 March 2018: Market socialism: a variant of capitalism (1990-2015).
  • Session 7: 21 March 2018: The political winding role of Chinese capitalism.
  • Session 8: 28 March 2018: Taiwan and Hong Kong entrepreneurs exploiting Chinese labor force.
  • Session 9: 4 April 2018: Overseas Chinese communities and Chinese transnationalism.
  • Session 10: 11 April 2018: China and the world.
  • Session 11: 18 April 2018: Challenges facing China's capitalism.
  • Session 12: 2 May 2018: How do Chinese trajectories contribute to understanding capitalism?