Norwegian version of this page

The Chinese Individual: Negotiations of Rights and Responsibilities (completed)

The focus of this project was the remarkable change of concepts and practices related to the individual and its position in Chinese society, community and family since the late 19th century, and especially in the past 60 years

Women and children.
Photo: Rune Svarverud.

About the project

The modern identity and role of the individual, and the negotiation of rights and responsibilities, are at the forefront of any political and social question in China today. At the same time, Chinese politics, economy and social stability are concerns of increasing importance for the entire world community.

Hence, this multi-disciplinary study of the individual in modern China facilitated an understanding of the fundamental changes taking place within the Chinese society today and, at the same time, was of pivotal importance for our perception of China’s role in international affairs. In a historical perspective the concept and ideas of the individual in Chinese society today are intrinsically linked to Chinese intellectual discourses on the individual from late 19th century onwards.


The project brought together Nordic and Chinese scholars from different disciplines in order to coordinate and focus research which will promote new and interdisciplinary perspectives on the remarkable change of ideas and practices of person and individual in China, and therefore more broadly the consequences of globalisation in the non-Western world.


  • Pang Cuiming: Individual Expression and the construction of a Regulable Cyberspace: an Anthropological Study of a Chinese Online community
  • Unn Målfrid H. Rolandsen: The Significance of Leisure: Changing Practices and Local Concepts in Contemporary China
  • Liu Zhaohui: Individual Rights and the Process of Family Politics in Chinese Village Elections
  • Ole P. Fossgård: The Early Chinese Anarchist Discourse on Feminism, 1906-1910
  • Stig Thøgersen: China's Township Officials: Individual Career Plans, Local Interests, and Party Policies
  • Li Minghuan: Family Strategy or Individual Choice: Exported Rural Labour in Tong'an County
  • Rune Svarverud: The early modern Chinese negotiation of a liberal role and identity of the individual
  • Mette Halskov Hansen: The New Individual in Rural China: Between Rights and Obligations


The project was financed by the The Research Council of Norway.



Published Oct. 26, 2020 1:52 PM - Last modified May 28, 2021 3:06 PM