Thursday, November 19, 2020

Conference-Workshop: "Governance and Emerging Technological Change in China" 19-20 November (virtually) Institute of East Asian Studies (In-East) at the University of Duisberg-Essen, Germany.


Shuanping Dai, Nele Noesselt, and Markus Traube have organized a marvelous internal virtual Zoom workshop conference for the Institute of East Asian Studies (In-East) at the University of Duisberg-Essen, Germany.  The Conference workshop is entitled: Governance and Emerging Technological Change in China, and will be held virtually 19-20 November 2020.

 The Conference-workshop explores the co-evolution of tech and the Chinese political-economic model in a variety of different facets.  These include building innovation infrastructures through labor training, tech and the new urban governance convergence, the embedding of AI as a tool and objective in economic and political frameworks, AI platforms and the governance of AI ecosystems, tech and standardization, the emergence of "smart courts," local governance as platform management in an innovation economy, innovation networks and adaptive governance, the economy of R&D subsidies, and tech and the management of the current health crisis.

The Program and concept note follow.  

My presentation, Platform Governance: Chinese Social Credit and Socialist Digital Markets, examines the evolution of social credit projects from data ratings systems to sophisticated ecologies of platforms that have become heavily embedded within both governance and and private life. It approaches the question: How do tech and markets provide the necessary platform for furthering the objectives of the state to create a system of social control (management freer of Western stye forms of regulaiton) with Chinese characteristics that contributes to the progress of the nation toward its realization of the ideal the realization of which its leading forces have been tasked?

The PPT follows below; ACCESS AND DOWNLOAD HERE: Backer_SocialCreditPlatforms_DuisbergEssen2020 with  live links. 



CONCEPT NOTE: Call for Papers

Virtual Workshop “Governance and Emerging Technological Change in China”

Institute of East Asian Studies, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

November 26-27, 2020

China’s recent socio-economic history is full of phenomena that on first sight appear paradoxical. The recent boom of tech-based emerging industries like electric mobility, fin tech, as well as the cross sectoral roll-out of artificial intelligence applications is another example. Since 2006, China that had become known as the global workbench has exerted tremendous effort to transform itself into a vibrant innovation-driven economy. Obviously these efforts have been quite successful.

According to the standard paradigm of economic thinking such a structural transformation requires a sound foundation manifested in a functional market system featuring free trade and competition, low enter barriers, and perfect property protection. But while China has made considerable progress in the establishment of certain market-oriented institutions, in other fields Chinese regulators have driven back existing market structures and once again strengthened governmental guidance and discretionary steering instruments in the economy. Scholars locating themselves in orthodox market theory must wonder what forces are at work in China and facilitate the rise of the above mentioned emerging industries. Heterodox perspectives might be of help to bring light to this recent puzzle in the evolution of China’s political economy.

Chinese government’s approach to the new tech-driven industries appears to constitute a clever mixture of traditional policy approaches and innovative tools and tactics. Next to taking recourse to conventional measures like tax reductions, research and development subsidies, various types of preferential treatment etc. the Chinese government is also actively engaging in the establishment of venture-capital investment funds mixing state with private capital, in order to select and promote promising entrepreneurial ideas. On the regulatory front, the Chinese state, which is known for its heavy handed guidance of industries, is providing freedoms to some innovators that go far beyond those provided in regulatory sandboxes and the like. The new forms of public-private interaction invite us to think about the character of Chinese state-capitalism, and the respective roles of the state as well as (private) entrepreneurs in the system. Where is the border-line between state intervention, governmental guidance, regulatory laisser-faire? Is there a new type of mission- oriented economic governance evolving in China? What is the motivation for and what are the guiding principles of private entrepreneurship in contemporary China?

In addition to these issues, technological innovation is driving institutional change in the field of governance as the coevolves with technological change, which is provide new techniques and service proposition. A multitude of areas in which such coevolution takes place can already be identified: clean energy technologies alter the foci of environmental regulations; “object recognition” technology can significantly reduce the cost of regulating traffic and public security, but trigger serious concerns with regard to social control and surveillance; big data processing self- learning machines and artificial intelligence may enable governance more to deal more effectively with a broad variety of tasks but also require specific regulation for privacy and data security.

All these phenomena emerge in a new socio-technological context and as such invite fresh academic research and systematic analysis designed to better understand the underlying forces and patterns.

We specifically welcome studies addressing the following topics in China’s emerging socio- technological transformation. The issues to address include, but are not limited to:

  • the design and implementation of industrial policies

  • state-business nexus

  • state industrial investment funds

  • strategic behaviour of business and political actors

  • governance of emerging industrial sectors

  • governance via emerging technologies

  • the coevolution of technological change and governance

  • the role of state-owned enterprises and private-owned enterprises, and their interactions

  • public-private partnership

  • social control and governance

  • emerging governance innovation

    Interested scholars are encouraged to submit your abstract, including contact information and a short biography to Prof. Shuanping Dai (, by the deadline on September 15, 2020.



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