Volume XXXVII • Issue 1 • 2020

China’s Political Economy under Xi

Special Issue Editors: Daniel Fuchs, Frido Wenten


Over the last decade, China’s political economy underwent two significant caesuras. The world economic crisis of 2008 inaugurated a period of slower growth rates and a renewed governmental effort to ‘rebalance’ the economy. Shortly thereafter, the new Xi/Li administration began to consolidate its power, tightening domestic control over civil society, while framing its interests abroad in terms of a free market agenda. This special issue of the Austrian Journal of Development Studies aims to explore the coherence and contradictions, challenges and opportunities of this new stage in China’s capitalist development.

The issue is guided by the following questions: Is China’s political economy under Xi characterised by a new combination of capitalist market relations and authoritarian rule? Are we witnessing the emergence of a coherent growth model? What contradictions, limits and challenges have become visible? How do we best conceptualise and explain them? What does this imply domestically for labour, capital and civil society in China – as well as for political economic dynamics in the region and on a global scale?

Volume XXXVII • Issue 2/3 • 2020

Methods for Inter- and Transdisciplinary Research and Learning based on Paulo Freire

Special issue editors: Ulli Vilsmaier, Gerald Faschingeder, Juliana Mercón


Paulo Freires approach to alphabetization and conscientization incorporates ground-breaking principles for individual and social transformation. The idea of learning to ‘read and to write the world’ embraces the appropriation of the world through understanding, and a belonging to a world to which we inscribe ourselves in order to transform it. Learning how to read the world aims at providing orientation and awareness of one’s own positionality and situatedness, while learning how to write the world allows for (re-)capturing the power of world-making. The underlying principle of what Paulo Freire calls praxis is that reflection and action are interconnected like two sides of a coin.

It is this entanglement of reflection and action that is of interest when it comes to establish transformative research. Sustainability scientists call for a mode of research that not only contributes to explanation and understanding, following epistemic aims, but one that contributes to transformations towards more sustainability alike, following transformative aims. This shift has strong implications for the understanding of research. First, it raises the question, who is considered to be legitimized to research. Second, the diversification of research objectives has significant methodological consequences that require different procedures and quality criteria. And third, these methods need to be both concrete enough to train and open enough to adapt to the specificity of the research situation.




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