Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research

Making sense of the social world


Feb 7
16:00 - 17:30
The Intertwining of Geopolitics and Geoeconomics of Hopes/Fears: China's Triple Economic Bubbles and the Making of the 'One Belt One Road' Imaginary
SSPSSR Staff and Postgraduate Research Seminars
Dr Ngai-Ling Sum, University of Lancaster

Abstract: This article adopts a discursive-cum-material approach to China's new 'One Belt One Road' (OBOR) geostrategic imaginary and its development through the intertwining of geopolitics and geoeconomics of hopes and fears. It first contextualizes this development after the 2008 financial crisis as China promoted a vast stimulus package that inflated existing property and infrastructure bubbles and fuelled another in finance. Resulting debates over crisis management enabled an incoming President Xi to articulate a set of hope-based discourses that came to include 'China Dream', 'new normal' and OBOR. Familiar cartographic statecraft techniques and new spatial metaphors were used to promote OBOR's allegedly 'win-win' strategy discursively. Materially, and more importantly, the OBOR imaginary was translated into policies that fuelled a grand trans-regional 'spatial fix' to postpone China's over-accumulation crises. This strategy is consolidating a China-oriented infrastructural mode of growth in production, financial and security. As this absorbs ever more productive and financial capital, contradictions, antagonisms, and conflicts are emerging, especially in the use of bilateral loan-debt contractuality to appropriate strategic infrastructure. The article concludes with a call for an affective turn examining the intertwining of geoeconomics and geopolitics in the analysis of trans-regional spatial fixes.

Chair:  Balihar Sanghera

No need to book


Seminar Room 2,
Cornwallis East
United Kingdom


Open to SSPSSR Staff and PGR students,


Contact: Eddy Hogg


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SSPSSR, Faculty of Social Sciences, Cornwallis North East, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NF

Last Updated: 04/12/2014