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CALL FOR PAPERS – Special Feature on “Grassroots makers of China’s e-commerce miracle”

CALL FOR PAPERS – Special Feature on “Grassroots makers of China’s e-commerce miracle”
Deadline for proposals: 10 December 2016

Guest edited by Dr. Haiqing Yu, The University of New South Wales, Australia.


China has become the world’s largest e-commerce market almost overnight. It has witnessed a powerful shift away from buying and selling at traditional brick-and-mortar stores to C2C, B2C, B2B, and O2O e-commerce, driven by the diffusion of broadband and smartphone adoption in the country. The record-breaking IPO of China’s leading e-commerce giant Alibaba on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014 is a recognition of the coming of age of the world’s largest e-commerce market. China’s e-commerce market is huge and diversified. It is common knowledge that China is home to the word’s largest and most prolific online shoppers and retailers, and that e-commerce trade has soared and remained resilient despite an economic slowdown. While online sales and shopping continue to grow—not only among the middle and upper middle class and affluent households in metropolitan centers but also among hundreds of millions of people in less-developed areas (small cities, towns and villages), scholarship on China’s e-commerce miracle also increases, with a focus on big players, market and consumer analysis, and structural and legal issues, often from disciplines in various business and law schools.

China’s e-commerce miracle, however, does not only rest on the shoulders of big players like Taobao, Tmall, Jingdong, Suning, and a string of other established companies. It is also made up by numerous smaller and obscure players, such as programmers, e-tailers, designers, and resellers. The smaller and less obvious players are often overshadowed and pushed to the background by bandwagon leaders, and their roles and agencies overlooked in the macro analysis of China’s e-commerce market.

This special issue calls for a paradigmatic shift from the “big guys” and the glamorous to smaller players and makers, the mundane and even dubious figures and features of China’s e-commerce miracle; from a focus on institutions, policies, processes, and efficiency to human agency, social impact, and power structure. It seeks to develop a greater understanding of the social and cultural implications of e-commerce on people of diversified backgrounds in relation to the development, management, use, and appropriation of digital communication and information technologies and systems for economic purposes.

The special issue invites scholars and students from a polyphonic spectrum of disciplines and perspectives across humanities, social sciences, and information systems to contribute to a rethinking of commercial activities as vehicles to highlight human agency and diversity in China’s transformations. It is expected that authors will not only provide empirical studies of particular grassroots players or makers of China’s e-commerce industry, but also critically discuss their role and agency in negotiating the complicated network of power and knowledge to create a politics of difference in their daily lives. The special issue will redefine the “who” of e-commerce as an unlikely collection of unimagined individuals and underrepresented groups; the “what” of e-commerce as measured by its social and cultural impact not its volume of business and transaction; and the “how” of e-commerce in terms of the implication and impact of those grassroots makers’ strategies for survival on the precarious condition of human diversity in China, along such lines as gender, sexuality, class, age, region, religion, ethnicity, and disability.

The grassroots makers of China’s e-commerce industry may include, but are not limited to:

techno-geeks, programmers, mobile app developers
web retailers, Taobao shop owners and operators, grassroots entrepreneurs
daigou (resellers of foreign products)
wanghong (web celebrities) and Taobao daren (talents)
startup incubators
web designers
customer service providers and subcontractors
niche/ smaller logistics and supply chain operators
Format of Submission

Full name, title and institutional affiliation
Contact details
500-words abstract, 100-word author bio
Submissions must be sent to
Upon acceptation, full papers of 8000 words shall be written according to China Perspectives’ Style Guide, available here.

10 December 2016: Abstract submission deadline. Please send a 500-word abstract and 100-word author bio to the guest editor Dr Haiqing Yu (
Invitation to submit full papers: by 31 January 2017
Full paper submission: by 1 June 2017; no more than 8000 words (style guide here).
Final decision on acceptance; by 1 November 2017
Early Submission are welcome and will be put into the review process as they arrive
All full papers will need to pass the double blind peer-review process. Final acceptace of papers cannot be confirmed until their validation by both peer-reviewers and the editorial committee.
About the journal:

An interdisciplinary quarterly journal published in both French and English, China Perspectives provides insightful analysis of the latest trends in the Chinese world. China Perspectives is an anonymously peer-reviewed academic journal. It is referenced in 8 international databases including Scopus. Its authority is ensured by an editorial board made up of reputed scholars. A serious yet readable journal, China Perspectives has already proven essential for sinologists and Asia analysts, but its broad scope and highly informative articles may be of interest to anyone keen on improving their knowledge about Greater China.

More information:

About the CEFC:

The French Centre for Research on Contemporary China (CEFC) is a public research centre with a regional remit (Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan) supported by the French ministry of Foreign Affairs and the CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research).

CEFC / 20/F Wanchai Central Building – 89 Lockhart Road, Wanchai Hong Kong – Tel.: +852 2876 6910 – Fax: +852 2815 3211 – Email:

CEFC Taipei / Room B111 – Research Center For Humanities and Social Sciences – Academia Sinica, Nankang, Taipei – Taiwan 11529, R.O.C. – Tel: (886-2) 2789-0873 – Fax: (886-2) 2789-0874 – Email:

CFC Beijing / Mingzhai Building, Room 324, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China – Email:

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