SOAS University of London

SOAS China Institute

The Evolution of the Chinese Social Model

Prof. Michael Dunford (University of Sussex)

Date: 16 October 2017Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 16 October 2017Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G3

Type of Event: Seminar


The theory of uneven and combined development  (U&CD) highlights the way in which in a world of diverse civilizations with different values and systems of economic and political organization, contender countries can draw on the advantage of backwardness to appropriate what is relatively advanced (through investment, learning and acquisition), avoid steps on the path (through stage skipping investment), create combinations with a higher preponderance of modern elements and generate these effects quickly and strongly. The aim of this presentation is to examine these propositions through a consideration of the Chinese case, paying attention to the Chinese social model (a socialist market economy with Chinese characteristics and an entrepreneurial state), the way it has evolved as a result of successive transformations of economic and public institutions and policies designed to move the country forward economically, while dealing with the contradictions generated by earlier phases of development, and the challenges (especially of urbanization and more equal and sustainable territorial development) of the new phase of reform.   


Michael Dunford is (since 2010) a Visiting Professor, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences and (since 2014) Emeritus Professor, School of Global Studies, University of Sussex).

He holds degrees in geography (1st Class Honours) and Quantitative Economics (Distinction). In 2000 he was elected to the Academy of Social Sciences (AcSS); in the early 2000s he was elected an Honorary Member of the Società Geografica Italiana; in 2003 he received the Royal Geographical Society Award for Geographical Research in Europe. In 1996-2002 he was Honorary Editor of Regional Studies. At present he is a Managing Editor of Area Development and Policy (

With interests in economic/urban and regional geography, his research deals with growth, inequality, convergence/divergence and social cohesion at a global scale, in Eurasia and more specifically in China and the European Union. Current research focuses on the rise of China and the Chinese social model and is funded by the National natural Science Foundation of China and with China’s Belt and Road Initiative. He has published nearly 300 journal articles and book chapters and 10 books and monographs of which the most recent edited with Liu Weidong is The geographical transformation of China (Routledge, 2015).



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