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Graduate School for Social Research, Polish Academy of Science

Claussen-Simon Ph.D. Fellow

Symbolic Power and Principle-Diffusion through China's Belt and Road Initiative: A Sociological Analysis


The project examines how social interactions under the framework of the China-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) change the way in which participants think and act on questions of socio-economic and political development and international cooperation. Interpreting the processes of interaction of the micro-dynamics and the macro-structures, the project combines a reflexivist approach inspired by Pierre Bourdieu with theories of diffusion. It uses original data gathered through participant observation of high-level think-tank exchanges between China and Central, East and Southeast Europe (CESEE), complemented with a high volume of informal interviews, as well as in-depth semi-structured interviews in China, CESEE and beyond. It argues that through the BRI, China-led interactions contribute to a new reading of important macro-historical developments and to the extension of the geoconomic imaginaries of non-Chinese participants to include new or revived “possibilistic” thinking on a trans-regional scale, which under some conditions, may interact with the policy process and the overall trajectory of the partner countries.
Anastas Vangeli is a doctoral researcher at the Graduate School for Social Research at the Polish Academy of Science, Warsaw, where he is also a part-time assistant on research projects within the Cross-National Studies: Interdisciplinary Research and Training Program (CONSIRT).  He holds master degrees in Contemporary China Studies (Renmin University of China, Beijing, 2013) and Nationalism Studies (Central European University, Budapest, 2009). Vangeli has worked in think tanks and maintains collaboration with several academic networks including ThinkIN China and the Center for Global Politics, Berlin.


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