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Social Science China

The Social Science China Website is a project realized by the Institute for Comparative Research Into Culture and Economic Systems at Witten Herdecke University, Germany. The website contributes to communication and intellectual exchange among researchers who develop social sciences with special respect to China, and who wish to contribute to China's cultural development by means of applying social theory on social practice.

China has undergone landslide social, political and economic changes since Western imperialism opened the country by brute force. Her way to modernity is not yet completed, because there can be no global modernity without Chinese culture. However, Chinese culture still manifests a bewildering diversity between some backward areas of mainland China and the Chinese business communities in the most developed industrial societies, yet being based on a set of common values and cultural images. We reject any kind of cultural monopolization of the concept of modernity, be this the "Western" way or the "indigenous". Modernity is a joint product of all cultures of the world, and we imagine the caleidoscopic synergy and creative tension to emerge from the ongoing process of globalization.

One of the strongest forces of this process is economic globalization. Hence, as economists, we pay special attention to the impact of economic change on Chinese culture and society. However, this does not imply that other forces are of less importance. To the contrary, we envisage a mutual feedback and continuous shift of balances between politics, society, economy and culture.

To strike a balance between economics and cultural studies, we adopt a double-track approach. First, we present a new statistical approach to China's economic development that focuses on her regional diversity. Second, we offer a platform to Chinese social scientists to make their results accessible to a Western audience.

This website consists of two segments:

Regional Development in China
We offer a complete economic data base on Chinese prefectures and provinces in the "Geographic Information Systems" framework. In our website, we provide free access to a large variety of topical maps and to ArcView files of complete prefectural data of 1993. We publish papers devoted to a better understanding of regional development and disparities.

Advances in China
In China, there is an vigorous and exciting debate in the social sciences, driven by the extreme experiences of modernization after 1949. This site contains contributions by Chinese social scientists in English language, thereby improving access to their thought.

This website is created and administrated by Professor Carsten Herrmann-Pillath. Recently, he was lucky to meet again Professor Zhang Peigang, one of the most famous economists of 20th century China. Professor Zhang is a symbol for the vast changes that China underwent during his lifetimes. He returned to China after receiving his Harvard PhD in 1947. People like him contributed wisdom, endurance and serenity to a society that has been changing more than any other in the world within such a short time.

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