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Globalization with Chinese Characteristics: Externalization, Dynamics and Transformations


  • Jeffrey Henderson,

  • Richard P. Appelbaum,

  • Suet Ying Ho

  • We are grateful to Development and Change's referees for their insightful comments on earlier drafts of this and the other articles that compose the special issue. Additionally, Jeffrey Henderson wishes to thank the Leverhulme Trust for funding some of the research on which the introductory article draws.

  • Earlier versions of all the articles in this special issue were presented at a conference jointly organized by the Universities of Bristol, Hong Kong and California at Santa Barbara and held in Bristol, 5–6 December 2011. We wish to thank our Hong Kong colleague, Ian Holliday, for working with us on the conference. Generous financial support for the conference was provided by the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation (Grant: CS009-U-10) and the Bristol Vice Chancellor's East Asia Fund. Additional funds came from the British Inter-Universities China Centre and the Colston Research Society. We are grateful to all these agencies for their support.


This article introduces a special issue on globalization ‘with Chinese characteristics’, but also makes its own contribution to the debates. It does so by focusing on the implications of China's rise for the nature and consequences of globalization as a distinct formation. It argues that globalization needs to be understood, in part, as the externalization of particular national forms of capitalism in particular historical periods. In this context, it explores the Chinese form in some detail, arguing that this form is likely to provide much of the initial character of a new, emergent version of globalization now in train. The ways China (and other ‘rising powers’) are beginning to impact other parts of the developing world presages the need for a new approach to the analysis of ‘development’. This article is critical of traditional discourses, and argues that innovation around the concept of ‘transformation’, including a focus on ‘conjunctures of critical transformation’, may lead to more appropriate and adequate analyses of development and open up those analyses more effectively to ‘non-Western’ voices. The authors discuss the ‘vectors’ by which China's externalization is transforming the developing world. They mobilize arguments from the other articles in the special issue, in order both to introduce their contributions to the relevant debates and to use their arguments as materials for the particular contribution this article provides.