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Yang, Yifan Mia

BIGSAS Junior Fellow Mia Yang

Research Interests:

Large-scale Mining and Infrastructure Projects, Business-Society Relations, Low-status Knowledge (Transnational Professionals), Technical Zones, China-Africa

Geographical Area:

Guinea, Senegal, Kenya

Current Project:

Frictional encounters? Governing and contesting Chinese industrial mining projects in Guinea

Could we still speak of Chinese actors’ engagement in Africa as the same monolithic ‘new phenomenon’ featured in academic work produced from the late 2000s? Chinese non-state actors are often deemed to be politically embedded, treated as extensions of the Chinese state. However, as time passes by, Chinese project operators (companies) gradually gain memberships in other transnational and local networks, and Chinese professionals accumulate what Valverde calls ‘low-status knowledge’. Low-status knowledge is defined as common views and beliefs held by practitioners, articulated in routine practice (Valverde, 2003).

I shall discuss how changing conditions, such as multiple membership and low-status knowledge, might impact existing translation from headquarters and technological zones to overseas projects (Barry 2006). The concept ‘boundary object’ will serve as the empirical entry point. It refers to the standardized and ad hoc classifications (of things and people) in everyday work life (Star 1990, Bowker and Star 2000). By observing how boundary objects organize and are organized by work practice, this study will help better understand potentially diversified business-society relationship around Chinese projects in Africa.


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