2018 – 2021
Global Interconnectivity and Trans-Local Development: A Multi-Sited Spatial Ethnography of Chinese Large-Scale Investments and its Transformative Impact on Everyday Socio-Spatial Practices in the Hinterland of Germany and China
Chinese global infrastructure investment and its related domestic and foreign industrial and economic development continuous to be on the rise, inexorably challenging and reconfiguring the planetary relationship between cities, regions, states and market-led development. The project takes this increasing shift of global geopolitics, strategically carried out under the Sino-centric vision of the Belt And Road Initiative (BRI), as a reference point to critically examine and follow the interrelations between the political economy of Chinese trans-national investment and the transformation of everyday (trans-)local socio-spatial practices. Based on a comparative and multi-sited ethnographic research, the project investigates the mechanisms and impacts of large-scale Chinese corporate investments beyond large urban centres through focusing on selected cases embedded in vastly urbanising hinterland regions, namely Arnstadt-Erfurt (Germany) and Huangyan-Taizhou (China). Through focusing on everyday livelihoods and its contextual perceptions, spatial practices and resultant socio-spatial manifestations, the project highlights how embedded actors are triggered by and connected with the respective investment projects. Thus, the project attempts to incorporate the contextual knowledge and perception of embedded actors to open up a more locally specific and trans-local understanding of today’s rural-urban transformation processes and its inherent everyday practices.