I am a peripatetic global citizen and a keen observer of world affairs presently researching the state of Chinese Modernity in Shenzhen, South China.
This Blog contains my observations, recordings, and analyses of the trajectories, rhythms, and inflections of social life in Shenzhen and wider China. My project involves an attempt to provide a time-and-place-bound anthropological response to the perennial philosophical question of “what makes for a good life”. [ 什么算是 ’好日子‘？]
My ethnographic focus on Shenzhen should be understood in the context of of my larger concerns, which can be said to broadly encompass the varied and various global expressions of Modernity. By virtue of its status as China’s first Special Economic Zone, a state-created sanctuary for capitalist development and expansion in China, Shenzhen potentially serves as a window for understanding capitalist life en generale. As a haven for deepening capitalist relations, Shenzhen is arguably a microcosm of the capitalist macro world-system.
I see the ubiquitous manifestation of Modernity around the globe as the result of undeniable Western political and cultural dominance since the late 15th C. The reach of Western influence qua Modernity is quite unprecedented in the history of civilisations and, to be sure, has been perpetuated via the institutional practices and logics of an incessantly coercive Coloniality: be it through brute military conquests and occupation (preponderant from the 16th-20th C) or the venal financial finagling of Wall Street today.
My anthropological investigation therefore seeks to prompt reflection on the singular nature of Modernity notwithstanding its multiple guises. Apropos, this blog will touch on questions about Modernity and Modernisation, Colonialism and Coloniality, and the problem of Eurocentrism in China and beyond, among other things. Needless to say, given the seemingly pernicious nature of these projects, I am also interested in forms of resistance that serve to militate against them: counter-projects of Decolonisation and Decoloniality, which are perhaps our only hope for a more humane and sustainable future.
By virtue of the nature and object of my investigations, it is by necessity that I adopt a trans-disciplinary approach, cutting across the fields of History, Philosophy, Economics, Political Economy, Sociology, Cultural Studies, Psychoanalysis, and Anthropology. Additionally, I take a keen interest in questions about Methodology in social research, using my own research experience in Shenzhen to initiate reflection on and discussion of what makes knowledge legitimate. After all, in addition to what has been said about the contents of this blog, it is also a working sociology and anthropology of knowledge – my knowledge – of contemporary China.