skip to content
Public Lecture

Shenzhen's Ritual Economy: Social Theory Meets Chinese Realities

Carsten Herrmann-Pillath (University of Erfurt)


'Ritual' is a peripheral concept in analyzing modern societies. It was the pivotal notion in traditional Chinese conceptions of social and political order. Following Randall Collin’s theory of interaction ritual chains, the lecture demonstrates how the case of Shenzhen provides empirical support for reinstating 'ritual' as a core concept in social theory: Even under the conditions of fast societal transformation, ritual assumes important functions in organizing the economy and structuring economic interactions. Chinese realities do not only challenge Western conceptions of modern society and economy in terms of an alternative system design, but also in terms of undermining hegemonic Western social theory on how modernity is defined and enacted in global society. The lecture is based on a book manuscript co-authored with Guo Man and Feng Xingyuan (out in 2020 with Routledge).



17th of December 2019, 16-17:30h



University and City Library of Cologne

3rd floor, Room BVI

Kerpener Str. 20 (Entrance)

50937 Cologne