CCCI Kimiko Suda: Ant Tribes (Yizu) in China's Contested Urban Space

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CCCI welcomes Kimiko Suda, Ph.D. Post Doc researcher, National Discrimination and Racism Monitor (NaDiRa) speaking on, 'Ant Tribes'(Yizu) in China´s contested Urban Space: A Discourse Perspective.'

In 2009 the term "Yizu" (Ant tribe) was selected as one of the ten most popular terms in China´s social media discussions. It was coined by the economist Lian Si to provoke a discussion about the social group of migrant graduates from China´s rural areas, working and living in precarious situations in China´s biggest cities, often in so-called urban villages. The term was taken up by various actors from governmental strategists, scientists, social media influencers, TV-script writers, novelists, to critical media activists. They functionalized the figure of the "Yizu" to tell their version of the story about the "Chinese Dream“, urban transformation processes, social stratification, social mobility, new emerging collective identities, and different shades of the brightness of the future. When analyzing the different variations of the narratives about "Yizu", it all boils down to one question: how to keep your human dignity in a social context, in which an increasing economization and mediatization of almost everything shapes everyday life, and makes it impossible to create a stable, publicly respected and self-determined social identity and position.

Kimiko Suda´s talk is based on a chapter of her book "Das Phänomen Yizu“ (published in September 2021 by transcript)

CCCI spring 2022 is co-sponsored by the East Asia Program, the Department of History, Asian Studies, The Cornell Society for the Humanities, and the Migrations initiative.

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Video of full lecture with presentation slides edited into the video.


East Asia Program, the Department of History, Asian Studies, The Cornell Society for the Humanities, and the Migrations initiative

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East Asia Program, Cornell University


history; East Asia; China; Ant Tribe; Urban China


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