Inaugural lecture: China's new civil society - heading anywhere?

The new professor in China-studies at the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies (ToRS), University of Copenhagen, Jørgen Delman, will give his inaugural lecture "China's new civil society - heading anywhere?" on 3 April 2009.

The relationship between the Chinese party-state and China's civil society is being put to a tough test under the financial crisis. Jobs are disappearing by the millions, exports are going down, and many migrant workers have to go back to the rural areas where they came from and where there is hardly use for them anymore.

In the cities, it has become exceedingly difficult to get a job, and a large part of this year's graduates from the Chinese universities will be unable to find employment. Therefore, there may be even more social unrest ahead than China has otherwise experienced in recent years.

Will the social contract between the party-state and a growth-oriented population sustain or will civil society go into action for more social security, more public welfare, or more influence?

The emergence of a civil society in the People's Republic of China is rather recent and it is still feeble. But there is an increasing number of critical voices that challenge the master narratives and the power monopoly of the party-state.

Jørgen Delman will focus his inaugural lecture on the relationship between the party-state and civil society and discuss the background for the development of China's civil society in recent years and where it is heading.

The lecture will be followed by a reception.