13 January 2016

New blog on research project: Trust, Global Traders, and Commodities in a Chinese International City

Vera Skvirskaja, associate professor, Dept. og Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, has started a blog on the ERC funded research project Trust, Global Traders, and Commodities in a Chinese International City. The project is based at the University of Sussex, but the University of Copenhagen houses Vera Skvirskaja's sub-project on the activities of Russian and Ukrainian traders in Yiwu. 

Vera Skvirskaja: "The idea behind this blog is somewhat experimental. It is a resource with a dual function. On the one hand, it can be read as an ordinary ‘activities’ rubric, it outlines project news and events. In the long run this activities’ rubric will transform into a project archive that, among other things, would allow us to fill in the annual project’s activities reports with least time expenditure. On the other hand, it also attempts to achieve something else: We envision it as an information resource that would allow the public – both our students, students and scholars in our research destinations, and general public – to have insights into the ‘social life’ of a collective research project. In other words, insights into what it means in practice to carry out an international project of this scale, with participants dispersed between different countries, institutions and university departments, what kind of issues we discuss, where and how we do it, what kinds of field research we do, what kind of papers we give, what kind of practical and other problems we face, and so on – and how all these various activities, both carefully planned and spontaneous, eventually result in something called ‘project objectives’ and ‘project outputs’. To this end, the language of the blog is intentionally as jargon free as possible and entries as heterogeneous as possible.  The direct feedback/comment function of the blog is disabled here for administrative reasons, but the reader will know how to contact us."

Read the BLOG entries here.

Yiwu, a city of 2 million in China’s commercially vibrant Zhejiang province, is known by traders from countries including Afghanistan and Syria, Ukraine and Mexico, and the UK and Russia as the world’s hub for the wholesale of ‘small commodities’. Journalists have recently been struck both by Yiwu’s significance to consumption practices across the world and by the diverse mix of merchants that assemble in the city.

‘Trust, Global Traders, and Commodities’, is an integrated programme of research that will provide new empirical data and comparative analysis on the global trade in low-grade Chinese-made commodities. The project’s focus is on the ways in which transnational trading activities are conducted in the cosmopolitan and dynamic city of Yiwu. Its in-depth investigation of Yiwu, and its connections to the wider world through networks and flows of people, commodities, and knowledge, will yield ground-breaking perspectives on the precise ways in which trade, while facilitating the exchange of commodities, does or does not simultaneously promote the transfer of practices, ideas, and identities.

Visit the project's websites at: