Engaging a temporal-spatial stretch: An inquiry into the role of the state in cultivating and claiming the Chinese knowledge diaspora

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Abstract

This paper examines the role of the state in cultivating and claiming the Chinese knowledge diaspora for development, focusing on the Chinese–German academic space. It calls for a temporal–spatial stretch in conceptualising the state in this policy arena. The spatial stretch broadens the usual analysis of the state to go beyond the sending nation-state framework. It illustrates that the state, rather than functioning as a unitary body, comprises different agencies and exists in a multiplicity of forms. Examples demonstrate that the Chinese state at various geographical levels and localities as well as states in other countries engage with one another in making and tapping the Chinese knowledge diaspora. The temporal stretch necessitates an extension of our analytical optic from the conventional focus on how the state claims the diaspora ‘out there’ towards recognising its important role in the strategic and selective production of the diaspora. Furthermore, this paper calls for a higher sensitivity to other temporal characteristics in state policies and practices. Moving away from an expectation of a permanent return of its talents overseas, the Chinese state has turned to the ‘diaspora option’, which refers to regulating and tapping the potential of the Chinese knowledge network that contributes from afar and/or circulates transnationally. Other mechanisms to control the temporality of knowledge diaspora engagement will also be illustrated. Finally, the paper provides an analysis of the complex, sometimes collaborative while other times competitive relationship, between the Chinese and German states in producing and regulating the Chinese knowledge diaspora.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-196
JournalGeoforum
Volume59
Early online date4 Jul 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Academic mobility
  • Chinese knowledge diaspora
  • State
  • Development
  • Spatiality
  • Temporality

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