Call For Papers: International Conference: 40th Anniversary of China’s Reform and Opening-up: Institutional Change and Reconfigurations of China’s Political Economy

10–12th Oct 2018
Duisburg, Germany

Organized by IN-EAST Institute of East Asian Studies. Organization Committee: Yuan Li, Nele Noesselt, Markus Taube
IN-EAST, University of Duisburg-Essen

The year 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the Third Plenum’s decisions on opening-up and reform (1978). The experimental integration of market elements into China’s centrally planned economy, sometimes classified as “Chinese variety of capitalism” or “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics”, is still an ongoing and dynamically evolving process. To cope with the negative externalities and unexpected socio-ecological side-effects of the 1978 decisions, the 19th Party Congress held in 2017 redefined the guidelines of China’s official development path in the “New era”. This refined developmental strategy reflects domestic challenges as well as changing constellations at the global level and China’s role in international institutions. This conference seeks to undertake a systematic, theory-guided analysis of China’s socioeconomic development path in retrospective and comparative perspective. During the past four decades, China’s economic system has evolved in a highly idiosyncratic fashion, in which bottom-up entrepreneurship and pressure for change have been as important as top-down decrees for economic development envisaged by the ruling party and government elite. Likewise, an increasingly intensive exposure to the global markets and its usances has resulted in institutional transplantations becoming a major stimulus for the design of the domestic socio-economic regime.

As the fifth generation of China’s political leaders has proclaimed the entrance into the stage of “new normal” (xin changtai), core features of the post-Maoist economic modernization strategy have become revised and partially reconfigured. Instead of separated reforms mainly limited to the fields of economy, the PRC now seeks to engage in simultaneous, coordinated reforms in five interrelated fields (wu wei yi ti). At the same time, China is positioning itself as defender of global free trade and actively pushes for the reform of the existing post -World War II international institutional order.

While propagating a selected set of liberal market values in the global arena, the domestic economy remains strictly controlled by the Communist Party and a specific regime of state-business collusion, in which the dividing line between a regulating state and the regulated business sector becomes blurred. The specific roles state-owned firms, private entrepreneurs
and foreign invested players take up in the Chinese economy remain shrouded in mystery.

This international conference, organized by the IN-EAST/University of Duisburg-Essen, aspires for an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas and insights. Scholars form the disciplines of business administration, economics, sociology, political science, and others are invited to submit proposals on the following topics:

Specific phenomena of China’s reform and opening-up process, that have transcended (“contradicted”) established theoretical paradigms
• The role of the government/party-state in economic development and business innovation
• The role of institutional transfers in the evolution of China’s politico-economic regime since 1978• Reform policies and institutional change targeting the unexpected negative side-effects of high-speed economic growth
• China’s role in international economic governance (especially in the institutional context of WTO; IMF; World Bank; ADB; AIIB; OBOR/BRI)
• Financial reform and the internationalization of the RMB
• Formation and transformation of (transnational) labor markets
• Urbanization and labour migration
• Characteristic features of entrepreneurship in China’s politico-economic regime
• Patterns of innovation in China’s modern economy – digital innovation, fintec, AI, etc.
• Ecological dimensions of China’s new developmental model (e.g. green finance; emission trading)

Several distinguished scholars have accepted our invitation to give keynote speeches at the conference:

Thomas Heberer Senior Professor at Institute of East Asian Studies and Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Duisburg-Essen

Jean-François Huchet Vice-President for Research, National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilization

Jun Zhang Dean, School of Economics, Fudan University

Suisheng Zhao Editor, Journal of Contemporary China; Professor of Chinese Politics and Foreign Policy, University of Denver

Xueguang Zhou Professor and Chair of Sociology, Stanford University

Akio Takahara Professor of Contemporary Chinese Politics, University of Tokyo

The organizers welcome proposals for organized panels consisting of four to five paper givers and one discussant. Individual paper proposals will be considered for inclusion in thematic or interdisciplinary panels designed by the organizers. Submissions should include the name(s) of all authors, affiliation and contact details, title of panel/presentation and short paper abstracts (up to 250 words).
Please submit your panel/paper proposals until 1 August 2018 to:
Decisions on panels / papers accepted to the conference will be sent out by 31 August 2018.

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