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We are pleased to present our online MERICS Future China Lecture with Professor Xiang Biao on “The self and the world: Changing worldviews among Chinese youths.” Professor Xiang Biao is the Director of the Max Planck Institute  for Social Anthropology in Halle.

China’s youth live in an society that is under enormous stress. Economic growth is slowing and the labor market has not recovered yet. The government calls for self-reliance, cultural self-confidence and patriotism. “Lying flat” (opting out of labor market competition) and “runology” (finding ways to emigrate) have become hot terms among young Chinese. Student numbers abroad are picking up again.

How do younger generations experience the current economic and political environment? How do world views, expectations and the sense of self change over generations? And what are the longer-term implications for China’s socio-economic trajectory and how the country relates to the world?

These are some of the crucial questions Professor Xiang Biao will explore and discuss in his MERICS Future China lecture. The conversation will be moderated by Mikko Huotari, Executive Director, with Katja Drinhausen, Head of Politics & Society at MERICS as discussant. Participants will be invited to ask questions and engage in the discussion.

Before joining the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in 2021, Xiang Biao was Professor of Social Anthropology in Oxford. His main research addresses various types of migration and mobility, exploring a wide range of issues including China’s political economy, state-society relations and governance. He is the co-author of Self as Method Thinking Through China and the World (available open source). Ranked as the book with the greatest impact in 2020 on Douban, China’s main platform for culture and reviews, the book and Xiang’s other works have been translated into multiple languages.

Register here.