“Civilized Cities or Social Credit? Overlap & Tension Between Governance Infrastructures in China”

Dr. Alexander TRAUTH-GOIK
University of Vienna

19 January 2024: 2:15 – 3:45 PM
FOR APAC, Sigmund-Haffner-Gasse 18, 3rd Floor, HS 888
Online Participation (Teams):  LINK


Dr. Trauth-GoikForeign imaginaries of surveillance and informatization in China are commonly connected to notions of omnipresence, advanced technology, and coherent governance. In reality, the Chinese government’s efforts at building a digital society are permeated by confusion over the meaning of central edicts, interdepartmental and regional fragmentation, and overlap between different governance systems. This presentation interrogates the connection between two emerging governance infrastructures embedded in the Chinese Party-state’s latest informatization drive, the “National Civilized Cities Award” (NCCA) and the “Social Credit System Project” (SCSP) through a mixed methods approach. It combines data from an analysis of a recent NCCA assessment system government work manual, project websites, and findings from thirty qualitative video interviews with residents from twenty different cities in China to demonstrate that overlap between these projects is clear in terms of 1) criteria and indices measuring project development; 2) promoted virtues and individual behaviors; and 3) data sharing between systems. Local governments charged with the design and implementation of these initiatives conflate their targets and objectives, prompting occasional reprimand from higher-level authorities. Public confusion about the meaning and purpose of both the NCCA and SCSP has meanwhile accompanied haphazard system development, demonstrating that the path towards a “digital society” in China is fraught and far from uncontested.






“Southeast Asian Cultures, Music and Performance, Gender Studies, Postcoloniality, or Hybridity Studies”

Prof. Dr. Sarah WEISS
University of Music and Perfoming Arts Graz

March 2024: tba

Further information will follow shortly.