Heidi Østbø Haugen

Professor - China Studies
Image of Heidi Østbø Haugen
Norwegian version of this page
Phone +47 22854276
Room PAM 320
Visiting address Niels Henrik Abels vei 36 0371 Oslo
Postal address Postboks 1010 Blindern 0315 Oslo

ERC project

BROKEX is an interdisciplinary research project funded by a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant. Heidi Østbø Haugen is the principal investigator (PI). The project will run from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2023.

Chinese global engagements are deepening across sectors and geographic regions. The objective of BROKEX is to fill specific gaps in knowledge about how China’s extraversion advances. The project takes an original approach by examining brokers who mediate in transnational fields. It opens China’s global integration to analysis by moving beyond descriptions of input and output characteristics to elucidate underlying dynamics.The PI and three postdoctoral researchers will carry out ethnographic fieldwork in the Pearl River Delta, South China, that yield complementary information on the common challenge of brokering across geographic scales:1) Connecting low-cost Chinese manufacturing with African markets;2) Integrating Chinese academic research with global scientific communities;3) Attracting new foreign investments to China to underpin industrial upgrading (case study funded through Research Council of Norway project);4) Transnational architecture production.

The cases offer insights into the mechanisms of brokerage across distinctive sectors. We build on the empirical findings and literature to develop brokerage theory. Social scientific research on brokerage commonly uses the morphology of social networks as its starting point, and focuses on how actors positioned at the intersection between groups operate.


I have previously worked for the United Nations World Food Programme in West Africa (2006-2008) and in the Department of Research of the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research (2004-2006).

Professional service


Tags: Chinese



Haugen, H. Ø. (2022). The Love Child and the State: Transnational Family Formation in Guangzhou, NAN NÜ24(1), 134-160. doi: https://doi.org/10.1163/15685268-02410039

Ma, Xinrong & Haugen, H. Ø. (2022): How ethnicity matters in labour studies: harnessing ethnic marginality in Chinese manufacturing, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, DOI: 10.1080/1369183X.2022.2078800.

Haugen, H. Ø. & Speelman, T. China’s Rapid Development Has Transformed Its Migration Trends, Migration Information Source, January 28, 2022.

Haugen, H. Ø. & Skilbrei, M.-L. (2021) Håndbok i forskningsetikk og databehandling, Oslo, Fagbokforlaget.

Haugen, H. Ø. (2021) 'Leaving on a strong passport: State protection of Chinese workers in Africa and beyond', International Migration, 59, 255-58.

Braun, L. N. & Haugen, H. Ø. (2021) The Weight Women Carry: Research on the Visible and Invisible Baggage in Suitcase Trade between China and Africa, The Professional Geographer, DOI: 10.1080/00330124.2021.1950554

Haugen, H. Ø., & Lehmann, A. (2020). Adverse articulation: Third countries in China–Australia student migration during COVID-19Dialogues in Human Geography. DOI: 10.1177/2043820620934939

Carling, Jørgen, and Heidi Østbø Haugen (2020) Circumstantial migration: how Gambian journeys to China enrich migration theory. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies:1-18. doi: 10.1080/1369183X.2020.1739385.

Haugen, Heidi Østbø (2019) The social production of container space. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 37(5):868–885.

Dong, Niu & Heidi Østbø Haugen (2019) Social workers in China: Professional identity in the making. British Journal of Social Work, 49(7):1932–1949. Free access link.

Haugen, Heidi Østbø (2018) The unmaking of a commodity: Intermediation and the entanglement of power cables in Nigeria. Environment and Planning A, 50(6): 1295-1313.

Haugen, Heidi Østbø (2018) China‒Africa exports: Governance through mobility and sojourning. Journal of Contemporary Asia 49(2):294-312.

Haugen, Heidi Østbø (2018) Residence Registration in China’s Immigration Control: Africans in Guangzhou. In Lehmann, A. & P. Leonard Destination China. Immigration to China in the Post-Reform Era. Palgrave Macmillan: Heidelberg: pp. 45-64.

Haugen, Heidi Østbø (2018) Petty commodities, serious business: The governance of fashion jewelry chains between China and Ghana. Global Networks, 18(2):307-325.

Haugen, Heidi Østbø (2018) From Pioneers to Professionals: African Brokers in a Maturing Chinese Marketplace. African Studies Quarterly, 17(4): 45-62.

Haugen, Heidi Østbø (2017) Sending Forth the Best: African Missions in China. In Hodgson, D.L. & J. Byfield (eds.) Global Africa. University of California Press, Oakland: pp 183-192.

Haugen, Heidi Østbø (2017) Prospective moments, eternal salvation: The production of hope in Nigerian Pentecostal churches in China. In Kleist, N and D Thorsen (eds) Hope and Uncertainty in Contemporary African Migration. New York: Routledge: pp 94-112.

Haugen, Heidi Østbø (2014) 'Take Over Asia for God!’: The Public Face of African Pentecostal Churches in China. In Adogame, Afe (ed) The Public Face of African New Religious Movements in Diaspora. Imagining the Religious 'Other'. Ashgate, Surrey: pp 105-124. ISBN: 978-1-4724-2010-7

Haugen, Heidi Østbø (2013) 'African Pentecostal Migrants in China: Marginalization and the Alternative Geography of a Mission Theology'. African Studies Review 56(1):81-102. Full text (pdf). Reprinted with the permission of ©African Studies Association (original link).

Haugen, Heidi Østbø (2013) ‘China’s recruitment of African university students: Policy efficacy and unintended outcomes’. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 11(3): pp 315-334. Link.

Haugen, Heidi Østbø (2012) ‘Nigerians in China: A Second State of Immobility’. International Migration 50(2): pp 65-80. (Free online access within institutions in the developing world through the OARE initiative).

Haugen, Heidi Østbø (2011) Chinese Exports to Africa: Competition, Complementarity and Cooperation between Micro-Level Actors. Forum for Development Studies.  38(2), pp 157-176 . Full text (pdf).

Haugen, Heidi Østbø (2008) “A Very Natural Choice”: The Construction of Beijing as an Olympic City during the Bid Period, In Monroe, Price & Daniel, Dayan (ed.),  Owning the Olympics: Narratives of the new China.  University of Michigan Press.  ISBN 978-047-207-0329.  Chapter 5,  pp 145-162.

Carling, Jørgen & Heidi Østbø Haugen (2008) Mixed fates of a popular minority: Chinese migrants in Cape Verde, In Chris, Alden; Ricardo, Soares de Oliveira & Daniel, Large (ed.),  China Returns to Africa: A rising power and a Continent Embrace.  C. Hurst & Co. Chapter 16,  pp 319 - 338

Haugen, Heidi Østbø (2005) Time and Space in Beijing’s Olympic Bid. Norwegian Journal of Geography 59(3), pp 217- 227

Haugen, Heidi Østbø & Carling, Jørgen (2005) 'On the edge of the Chinese diaspora: The surge of baihuo business in an African city', Vol. 28, No. 4 July 2005 pp. 639-662.. Ethnic and Racial Studies.  ISSN 0141-9870.  28(4), pp 639- 662

Peer reviewed publications in Norwegian

Haugen, H.Ø. & A. Tollefsen (2017) Samfunnsgeografiske metoder. In Lier, D.J. (ed.) Samfunnsgeografi. En innføring. Cappelen Damm, Oslo: 63-72.

Knutsen, H.M. & Haugen, H.Ø. (2017) Utvikling i globale verdikjeder og produksjonsnettverk. In Lier, D.J. (ed.) Samfunnsgeografi. En innføring. Cappelen Damm, Oslo: 95-108.

Haugen, Heidi Østbø (2012) Hvorfor er Kina i Afrika? In Torgeir E. Sæveraas (ed.) Etter Afghanistan - Ny strategisk virkelighet? Luftkrigsskolens skriftserie vol. 25. Tapir Akademisk forlag, pp 69-80. ISBN 9788251928717. 

Translated work

Haugen, Heidi Østbø (2016) 尼日利亚人在中国:第二次固定性状态 (Nigerians in China: A Second State of Immobility). Li Zhigang (ed.) 广州国际移民区的社会空间景观 (The social landscape of Guangzhou’s immigrant neighborhoods). Guangzhou: Southeast University Press (Revised and translated version of my article in International Migration.)

Haugen, Heidi Østbø (2016) Migrants pentecôtistes africaines en Chine: la marginalisation et d'autres géographies d'une théologie de la mission In : N. Khouri and D. Malaquais, eds. Afrique-Asie. Arts, espaces, pratiques. Rouen: Presses Universitaires de Rouen et du Havre, pp 127-144. (Translated version of my article in African Studies Review.)

Haugen, Heidi Østbø (2016) Il reclutamento degli studenti universitari africani verso la Cina. In Mondo Cinese. 158(1):171-182. (Revised and translated version of my article in Globalisation, Societies, and Education.)

Haugen, Heidi Østbø & Jørgen Calring (2016) Sie wagen und gewinnen. Chinesische Händler in Afrika”. Der Überblick (Germany). 41(4): 19–23. (Revised and translated version of my co-authored article in Ethnic and Racial Studies.)

Book reviews

Alpes, Maybritt Jill (2017) "Brokering High-Risk Migration and Illegality in West Africa: Abroad at Any Cost". New York: Routledge. Book note in Journal of Peace Research (2017). Link.

Wyatt, Don J. (2009) "The Blacks of Premodern China (Encounters with Asia)". Philadeplhia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Book review in Journal of Asian and African Studies (2011) 46(6) pp 691-692. Link.

Marshall, Ruth (2009) "Political Spiritualities: The Pentecostal Revolution in Nigeria". Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Book note in Journal of Peace Research (2011)  48(5) pp. 686-686. Link.

Brautigam, Deborah (2009) The Dragon’s Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Book note in Journal of Peace Research (2010) 47(4) pp. 512-512.

Research websites

Brokex.org presents the ERC-funded project. 

The website U-Turn Asia was created based on fieldwork among undocumented Gambian migrants to China as part of my postdoc project "Production, trade and consumption in South-South commodity flows: Re-theorizing from below".

In international media

What Mixed-Race Marriages Teach China About Identity. Interview in podcast Worldview by WBEZ Chicago. February 28, 2018.

Pearls of wisdom hide ugly truth. News article in Mail & Guardian (South Africa) based on publication in Global Networks, January 12, 2018.

“You have succeeded!” Nigerian migrant churches in China. Blogpost on Migration out of poverty, May 29, 2017.

The best days of selling cheap Chinese goods in Africa are over. Interview in Quartz Magazine, May 3. 2017.

China's African Population Declines Amid Slowdown, Crackdown. Interview in the New York Times (by Lousies Watt, AP). November 18, 2016.

For these African migrants, life isn't what they were promised. Interview in Huffington Post, August 10, 2016.

Le cauchemar des Gambiens de Canton. Interview in Le Monde Afrique by Sébastien Le Belzic (about the U-turn Asia project). July 19, 2016.

Why Gambian migrants are giving up on their “China Dream” Insterview in podcast by the China-Africa project by Eric Olander. August 7, 2016.

African migrants are returning from China and telling their compatriots not to go. Interview in Quartz Magazine. July 1, 2016.

Haugen, Heidi Østbø (2015) ‘Destination China: The Country Adjusts to its New Migration Reality’. Migration Information Source, March 4. Link.

Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou. Voice of America News (TV), Novermber 26, 2014.

Use Sience to Fight Ebola: Guangzhou's policy towards African migrants. Innlegg på US & China Visa Blog, November 25 2014.

Cape Verde shopkeepers gain recognition. Opinion piece published in connection with the 2014 Jinan Conference. China Daily, June 13, 2014.

Featured Researcher at the SSRC China-Africa Knowledge Project website.

Shifting gravity. Opinion piece about the economic implications of African immigration to China in China Daily, July 19, 2013.

Eastern Promise in Little Africa. Interview with The Global Mail (Australia), January 25, 2013.

Tale of Two Immigrant Cities. Interview about Sino-African migration with China Daily, January 25, 2013.

Africans in China. Interview with the BBC Business Daily. December 25, 2012.

African Students See China as a Path to a Prosperous Future. Interview in article in The Chronicle of Higher Education. September 10, 2012.

"In Southern China, a thriving African neighborhood". Interview in NPR radio documentary, April 27, 2012.

"An African trader and the perils of business in China". Interview in NPR radio documentary, April 26, 2012.

"巧克力成"喜忧录 (Records of the joys and sorrows of "Chocolate City"). Intervju i artikkel i 外滩画报 (The Bund), 30. november 2011.

非洲商人的广州梦 (African traders' dream of Guangzhou). Intervju i artikkel i 小康 (Insight China), 1. januar 2010.

"Sie wagen und gewinnen. Chinesische Händler in Afrika". Article in "Der Überblick: Zeitschrift für ökumenische Begegnung und internationale Zusammenarbeit". 41(4): 19–23, December 2005 (with Jørgen Carling)

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  • Haugen, Heidi Østbø & Skilbrei, May-Len (2021). Håndbok i forskningsetikk og databehandling. Fagbokforlaget. ISBN 9788245034516. 233 p.

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  • Haugen, Heidi Østbø (2021). Norsk Kina-kompetanse må styrkes. Dagsavisen - Nye Meninger.
  • Haugen, Heidi Østbø (2021). Fyrer løs mot «sjokkerende» mangel på penger til Kina-studier. [Business/trade/industry journal]. Khrono.
  • Haugen, Heidi Østbø (2021). Newcastle University Center for Urban and Regional Research External Seminar series: South China's Greater Bay Area Strategy .
  • Haugen, Heidi Østbø (2021). Nasjonalisme: Et grunnlag for fred? [Internet]. Strømmet seminar på Litteraturhuset.
  • Staksrud, Elisabeth; Kolstad, Ivar; Bang, Kirsten Johanne; Bomann-Larsen, Lene; Fretheim, Kjetil & Granaas, Rakel Christina [Show all 16 contributors for this article] (2021). Forskningsetiske retningslinjer for samfunnsvitenskap og humaniora. De nasjonale forskningsetiske komiteene. ISSN 978-82-7682-101-7.

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Published July 5, 2018 1:58 PM - Last modified June 24, 2022 2:24 PM