Inequality in Contemporary China

‘Common prosperity’ is an important goal for the future development of the Chinese economy. This is a response to several decades of increasing inequality during the reform era. Which groups of the Chinese population have so far missed out on the advantages of rapid economic growth? What is their situation?

Illustration photo.

 Photo: Joshua Fernandez on Unsplash

International time: 21:00 Beijing, 15:00 Oslo, 09:00 (AM) Washington DC.

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Book coverIn this seminar Reza Hasmath will introduce his book "Ethnicity and Inequality in China". This edited volume comprises 12 chapters written by several experts, discussing how the economic life of the 55 ethnic minority groups compares to the Han majority.



Book coverManfred Elfstrom will turn the attention of the situation for Chinese workers. His new book "Workers and Change in China: Resistance, Repression, Responsiveness"  uses a dataset of strikes by Chinese workers, as well as regional case studies grounded in interviews, to examine how rising industrial conflict is influencing the Chinese state from below.  



Reza Reza Hasmath

Professor in Political Science at the University of Alberta. Hasmath’s research examines the integration of life course experiences of ethnic minorities in global contexts. He analyses state-society relationships in China with an emphasis on the activities of NGOs and modes of civic participation. Hasmath is the co-editor of the book Ethnicity and Inequality in China, published in 2021. 


Manfred ElfstromManfred Elfstrom

Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia. Elfstrom’s research explores Chinese social movements, labour, and authoritarianism. Before working on these topics in an academic setting, Elfstrom worked in the non-profit world, supporting workers’ rights and improved grassroots governance in China. 


Jingyu MaoJingyu Mao

Dr Jingyu Mao, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Bielefeld. She holds a PhD from the University of Edinburgh with a thesis focusing on the work and migration experiences of ethnic performers in Southwest China. She will chair this seminar.



Heidi Østbø Haugen

The seminar series is hosted by Heidi Østbø Haugen, professor of China Studies at the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages. She heads the ERC-funded project Brokering China’s Extraversion: An Ethnographic Analysis of Transnational Arbitration (Brokex).


Other events in the Brokex Autumn 2021 Seminar Series


China’s Economy: Challenges Created by the Reform Era

Date and time: 8 September 2021. 21:00 (Beijing), 15:00 (Oslo), 09:00 (EST). Sign-up.

Scott Rozelle: Invisible China: How the Urban-Rural Divide Threatens China´s Rise

Isabella Weber: How China Escaped Shock Therapy: The Market Reform Debate

Discussant: Wendy Leutert


China has Arrived as a Geopolitical Superpower

Date and time: 3 November 2021. 22:00 (Beijing), 15:00 (Oslo), 10:00 (EST). Sign-up.

Shaun Breslin: China Risen? Studying Chinese Global Power

Elizabeth Economy: The World According to China

Discussant: Amy Qin


Chinese Roads of Communication: Narratives of Connectivity

Date and time: 1 December 2021. 22:00 (Beijing), 15:00 (Oslo), 09:00 (EST). Sign-up.

Gary Sigley: China´s Route Heritage: Mobility Narratives, Modernity and the Ancient Tea Horse Road

Eyck Freymann: One Belt One Road: Chinese Power Meets the World

Discussant: Özge Söylemez



The seminar is organised by Siv H. Oftedal, researcher at the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, as part of the project Brokering China’s Extraversion: An Ethnographic Analysis of Transnational Arbitration (Brokex). The project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 802070) and the Research Council of Norway (project ID 275002). 

EU- and ERC-logos


Published Aug. 31, 2021 10:26 AM - Last modified July 1, 2022 8:32 AM