Chinese society and culture

published: 6.10.2023

From “common” to “public”: What tools for understanding opinion in contemporary China?

This seminar, organised by Sciences Po, brought together Isabelle Thireau, an anthropologist specialising in China, and Laurent Thévenot, a sociologist and founder of French pragmatic sociology (Ecole des Hautes études en sciences sociales, EHESS). The question was how to think about the notion of 'opinion' in the Chinese context.

The two researchers showed how this notion can be reworked to capture more accurate nuances in the Chinese context, where opinion in the traditional sense of the term, especially political opinion, is limited. Based on observations of public gatherings (Thireau) or international comparisons (Thévenot), they showed the importance of taking into account a whole range and variety of formats of more or less public, more or less shared forms of expression.

Scientific coordinators : Jean-Louis Rocca, Sciences Po-CERI and Camille Salgues, Sciences Po-CERI


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About the speakers

Jean-Louis Rocca

Professor at Sciences Po, Senior Researcher at Centre for International Studies (CERI), Sciences Po

Sociologist and Political scientist, contemporary Chinese society

Camille Salgues

Contract Researcher at Centre for International Studies (CERI), Sciences Po

Sociologist and anthropologist, specializing in children in China, translator