The Origin, Evolution, and Decay of the Order

by Tianlong You, Associate Professor, Yunnan University

Date & Time: Thursday, September 22, 2022, at 4:00 PM

Location: Durham 240 & Zoom


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Lunch will be provided for those who attend in person. Please RSVP for in person attendance.



This lecture investigates how immigrants from the Muslim world are integrated into the mainstream society of a county in East China which is a key manufacturing and trade hub in the global economy--Yiwu. Using data collected from face-to-face interviews and on-site observations, as well as archival records of government policies and media reports, we develop an analytic framework of "the whole-of-society" approach, based on the idea of multi-level governance and distinctive governance, which underscore the experimental efforts of a relatively smaller-sized but developmentalist government to strike a delicate balance between economic development and national security in a country without a national immigration legal framework. We find that, at the department level, the entire local police force proactively reaches out to foreigners through creative and high-tech methods to serve several purposes including contributing to international trade; at the countywide level, the entire local government, centered around the goal of economic development, provides a variety of services to foreigners, which further draw them closer to Yiwu in a country-level competition over international trade and FDI with global cities in China; at the society level, the entire Yiwu society, through social work institutions, attempts to integrate foreigners into Yiwu's social fabrics.

This talk contributes to a more in-depth understanding of the immigrant integration governance as follows. First, it analyzes Yiwu’s immigration integration governance based on empirical data mainly collected from face-to-face, semi-structured interviews with important gatekeepers and on-site observations through multiple field trips, while, in the existing MLG literature, migration governance is  ntended in a descriptive manner and empirical studies are mainly centered on environmental policy and cohesion policy (Piattoni 2010). Second, by examining the roles of, and the interactions between, public and nonpublic actors in Yiwu’s governance of immigration integration, we exhibit the mechanisms of the governance which emphasize the centrality of the community level, a dimension often understudied in the extant literature, as the appropriate locus for the analysis of integration dynamics. Third, we present a case on immigration integration governance in a non-western, non-liberal democratic, non-global city context in which Muslim immigrants are basically placed in a very positive light in the era of islamophobia. Fourth, this study offers insights into the future development of China’s first immigration law generated through experiment-based policymaking in Yiwu as the “whole of-society” approach may very likely be adopted nationwide.  

Keywords: Immigration governance, China, Immigrant entrepreneur, Yiwu

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