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Brokering China’s Extraversion: An Ethnographic Analysis of Transnational Arbitration

Project description

Brokering factors in China’s extraversion

The rise of China as a global economic power raises questions around China’s extraversion procedures. Little is known about the key mediating factors in China’s global integration. The EU-funded BROKEX project uses an innovative approach to study the way brokerage factors act to bridge gaps between diverse groups. It will perform ethnographic case studies in the Pearl River Delta (south China) as a key example in mediating across geographical scales. It will study how to connect low-cost Chinese products with African markets. It will also insert Chinese academic research into the global scientific environment and study transnational architecture output. In the second phase, the project will work on the empirical findings to create a brokerage theory that will increase knowledge about the procedures of China’s extraversion experiences.


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 the “black box” of China’s global integration by moving beyond descriptions of input and output characteristics to elucidate underlying dynamics. The objective will be achieved in two phases. First, the PI and two postdoctoral researchers will carry out ethnographic case studies in the Pearl River Delta, South China, that yield complementary information on the common challenge of brokering across geographic scales: * Connecting low-cost Chinese manufacturing with African markets; * Integrating Chinese academic research with global scientific communities; * Transnational architecture production. The diverse cases offer insights into the mechanisms of brokerage across distinctive sectors. In the second step, 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. BROKEX adopts an innovative approach by examining how actors strategically seek to shape network morphologies in order to bridge gaps between groups. By directing theoretical attention towards relationship formation that precedes acts of brokerage, this line of inquiry advances understandings of how and why brokered connections emerge. Ethnographic case studies combined with critical theorization will generate new knowledge about the processes beneath the “rise of China” ─ one of the most consequential socioeconomic developments of our times.

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 1 490 773,00
0313 Oslo

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Norge Oslo og Viken Oslo
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 1 490 773,00

Beneficiaries (1)