Scaling sinophobia through homo economicus

Authors: Michael Richardson*, Newcastle University
Topics: Political Geography, Social Geography
Keywords: Sinophobia, China, Hong Kong, neoliberalism, postcolonialism
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Iris, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Late nineteenth and early twentieth century understandings of the synonymous relationship of ‘the West’ and ‘modernity’ still dominate in Anglo-centric academia and as this paper posits, can be best understood through the notion of homo economicus. The term itself, literally as economic man, stands for Western, colonial and imperial rationality and serves as a proxy for contemporary neoliberal agendas. Sinophobia has been documented across different disciplines and across different time periods but what this paper puts forward is a scaled analysis of sinophobia to reveal how, ultimately, these ‘fears’ have become internalised with bodies as sites of political violence. Sinophobia is rife within current geopolitical discourse and plays a key role in the future of our planet. It intersects with aggressive, militarist and masculinist contemporary international relations. While ‘East’ and ‘West’ are centuries old concepts their geographical imaginaries continue to be shaped in the modern era. Despite this, sinophobia has not featured as a focus in any of geography’s major journals nor is its significance as understood as that of its namesakes – Islamophobia and homophobia.

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