SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Giulia Zoccatelli

BA in Chinese Studies (Ca' Foscari University - Venezia) Laurea Specialistica in Anthroplogy (Ca' Foscari University - Venezia)
  • Overview
  • Research


Giulia Zoccatelli
Miss Giulia Zoccatelli
Email address:
Thesis title:
Globalizing Empowerment: an ethnography of heroin, AIDS and civil society in post-socialist China (working title)
Internal Supervisors

PhD Research

Based on thirteen months of ethnographic research carried out between 2011 and 2013 among community-based organizations heroin users and sex workers in China's Yunnan Province, in my project I explore the interface between global, national and grassroots responses to the HIV pandemic in the PRC. By looking closely at the assemblage (Collier and Ong 2005) of discourses and daily practices that has cobbled around China's adoption of the international humanitarian principle of Greater Involvement of People with AIDS (GIPA), my work thus tries to address the following broad questions.

How is "the global" that is woven into the universalizing idioms of international humanitarian principles taken up, refashioned and rearticulated into people and institutions' lives in the PRC? How are global strategies and ideas about health and its management relieved and enacted on the grassroots level in the context of contemporary post-socialist China?

PhD Publications

Zoccatelli G. 2014. "It was fun, it was dangerous: Heroin, Young Urbanities and Opening Reforms in 1980s China's Borderlands". International Journal of Drug Policy 25: 762-768.

PhD Conferences

Panels chaired and organized:

May 31st, 2014 (London, UK)
"Appropriating Photography: Global Technologies and Local Politics of Self Representation"
at "Anthropology and Photography" – Royal Anthropological Intitute (RAI) Annual Conference - London

August 8th, 2013
"The Future Agenda for Anthropological Research on the HIV/AIDS Pandemic"  
at 17th World Congress – International Union of Anthropological and Etnological Scinces (IUAES) – Manchester

Papers Presented:

July 31st, 2014 (Tallinn, Estonia)
"Addicts of Yunnan, unite!: Medical activism, advocacy and cooperation in the context of contemporary China"
at EASA 2014: Collaboration, Intimacy & Revolution
Panel: Collaboration, (in)determinacy and the work of translation in development encounters

July 4th, 2014 (Beijing, China)
"Whose activism, what cause? Patients’ advocacy, state and global-aid in the context of contemporary China"
at New European Research on Contemporary China International Conference - French Centre for Research on Contemporary China
Panel: Civil Society Activism.

December 14th, 2013 (Lecce, Italy)
"Un assemblaggio globale: lotta all’AIDS, antropologia e salute pubblica nella Cina contemporanea" [A global assemblage: AIDS fight, anthropology and public health in contemporary China]
at Italian Society of Applied Anthropology (SIAA) – 1st Annual Congress
Panel: Anthropology and Health.

August 8th, 2013 (Manchester, UK)
"Empowerment Globalized: Universal Principles, Grassroots Civil Society and HIV in Post-Socialist China"
at “Evolving Humanity, Emerging Worlds” - International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) - 17th World Congress.
Panel: The Future Agenda for Anthropological Research on the HIV/AIDS Pandemic

February 22nd, 2013 (Rome, Italy)
"Empowerment, INC. - AIDS, Globalization, Public Health and Local Communities in the Context of Post-Socialist China"
at Italian Society of Medical Anthropology (SIAM), 1st Annual Congress
Panel: Institutions and Health Policies.

June 9th, 2012 (London, UK)
"AIDS Fight Reassembled: Anthropology and the Complexities of Public Health. A Case from anti-AIDS Programs in Post-Socialist China"
at “Anthropology in the World” - Royal Anthropological Institute, Annual Conference – British Museum, London
Panel: Anthropology and Public Health: Encounters at the Interface.

December 10th, 2011 (Hong Kong)
"Globalizing Empowerment: An Ethnography of AIDS and Grassroots Groups in Contemporary Post-Socialist China"
at “Asian Anthropology: Materiality, Movement and Change in Practice” - 4th Postgraduate Student Forum – Chinese University of Hong Kong


  • Interim Chair of the IUAES Scientific Commission "Anthropology of HIV/AIDS"
  • Member of the Royal Anthropologica Institute
  • Member of the European Association of Social Anthropology (EASA)


China, HIV/AIDS, Heroin