Chair of Cultural and Social Anthropology, Institute of Sociology
SDAC Speaker and Director
PhD in Social Anthropology and Ethnology of the EHESS Paris (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, France), with a specific ‘European PhD’ label and highest honors.
BA in Chinese Language and Civilization, from Langues’O [French National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations (INALCO), Paris.]
MA in Political Sciences, Compared Politics of Asia, at Sciences Po Paris, with high honors.
MA in Anthropology, at the EHESS Paris, with highest honors.
BA in Political Sciences, from Université Lyon 2.
BA in Sociology and Anthropology, from Université Lyon 2.
Academic Work Experience
P.I. of personal project, financed by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Freie Universität Berlin. Germany.
2020 (spring-summer semester)
Visiting Professor (W2 Vertretungsprofessor) for Public Anthropology. University of Bremen. Germany.
Invited Visiting Scholar and Adjunct Professor at the Department of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA.
Dahlem Research School Postdoctoral Fellow at the Free University of Berlin, Germany. Employed within the Affective Societies Collaborative Research Center.
Postdoc Research Fellow at the Department of Cultural and Social Anthropology of the University of Cologne, Germany.
Research Fellow and Junior Scientific Coordinator at the Political Sciences Department of Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany, within the Interdisciplinary Center for East Asian Studies [Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für Ostasienstudien], for the interdisciplinary research program “Protecting the Weak”, financed by the Volkswagen Foundation.
Temporary Assistant Professor (ATER) in Political Sciences at the Université Paris Est Créteil (UPEC), France, in the department of International Exchange and Administration.
Adjunct professor in charge of a course on Anthropology of East Asia (China, Korea, Japan) for undergraduate students at Université Paris 8, France.
PhD contract from the French National Ministry for Higher Education and Research.
University of Bremen
-“Kulturtheorien in Geschichte und Gegenwart”
-“Wirtschaft und Kultur”
-“Transforming China(s): Current Social and Cultural Dynamics in the Chinese World”
-“Is this Love? Anthropological Perspectives on Romantic Attachment and Marriage Across Societies”
University of California, Los Angeles
-“Ideology and Social Change in Contemporary China” (Anthro 163P)
University of Cologne
-“Economics and Morality” (taught with Tijo Salverda)
-“Gender and Sexuality in China”
-“The Anthropology of Emotions — Comparative Perspectives”
-“The Anthropology of Love — Comparative Perspectives”
Université Paris Est Créteil (UPEC)
-“Sociology of China — An introduction to Chinese society”
-“The sociology and psycho-sociology of Organizations”
-“The body, between nature and culture, an introduction to sociology”
École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS)
-“Sociology and Affect” (taught with Sébastien Roux (CNRS) and Manuela Salcedo).
Université Paris 8
-“Anthropology of Eastern Asia – China, Korea, Japan”
Freie Universität Berlin
-“Gender and Affect” (with J.C. Lanca, Sophie Nikoleit and Matthias Lüthjohann)
École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS)
-“A ‘moral crisis’ in China? Anthropological gazes on the debates and tensions of Today’s China” (with Elisa Cencetti).
-“The Political Economies of Sentiments” (with Manuela Salcedo, Mathieu Trachman, and Michela Villani).
Previous Research Project (PhD defended at the EHESS in October 2015):
The Sentimental Wars. A Moral Anthropology of China’s Urban Marriage Market in the Years 2000s.
This ethnographic study, based on fieldwork research carried out in Beijing and Chengdu between 2006 and 2010, explored the transformation of the urban marriage market in China. It did so through the prism of one social institution : the xiāngqīn, a traditional form of marriage intermediation, which is presently undergoing a reinvention. Through a series of places (marriage agencies, parental and bachelors’ gatherings), my study examined a number of twentieth century key issues (the opposition to arranged marriages, the political place of love, the importance of social ties (guānxì), the role of traditional thoughts like “confucianism”, etc.) The study examined this phenomenon in its actuality and its transversality, giving accounts of its social, economic, and historical dimensions, and awarding a particular importance to what I name the “affective scope” of the research. The study revealed the “sentimental politics” behind it, as they were helpful to think the social and cultural discriminations it holds. It payed careful attention to the intellectual debates concerning the place awarded to love in the Chinese society, which have been particularly relevant through the modernization process. Furthermore, it elaborated a critical analysis of their present uses. Through them, and through the omnipresent moral debates on today’s China’s public stage, the transformation of the Chinese subject is observed. The study of this phenomenon therefore allows an exploration of the social and personal consequences of the political, economic, and demographic changes experienced by Chinese society from thirty years onward and the pressure it induced on the younger generations.
This PhD thesis is accessible online on the French Open Archives Repository HAL: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/tel-01972770/document
Desire Economics: Affect and Social Competition in Chinese Megacities
This project follows my previous research concerning the phenomenon of marriage markets in present-day China, the importance granted to love in the Chinese political context, and my theoretical work on the importance of affect in the ethnographic understanding of society (Pettier 2016). It is based on a long-term ethnographic research carried out in the cities of Beijing and Chengdu between 2006 and 2010, and will examine the affective dynamics of the Chinese society and the notion that it may be undergoing “moral crisis.” The project’s ambition is to provide a sensitive ethnography of the affective economy behind the social competition for economic success operating amongst today’s Chinese new generations. In particular, it will focus on questions of intimacy, sexuality, social pressures to attain success, self-sacrifice, and individual engagement in professional careers. Allying a long-term ethnography of China with the most recent theories of affective economy and politics, this research will focus on the affective drive, which I will refer to here as a “desire economics,” behind the extreme level of socio-economic competition experienced by Chinese new generations.
Jean-Baptiste Pettier is a Doctor in social anthropology with a large interdisciplinary background in social sciences and a specialization in Chinese society, my main research thematics concern sentiments, affect, and morality, and their relationships with political and economic conditions.
2022, “‘Feeling Under Pressure’: Realities of Sex, Love, and Dating in Urban China,” “BEHIND THE SCENES,” Comparative Studies in Society and History website. [Open Access]
2022, “The Paradoxical Agora. The Social and the Political in between the People in the Marriage Corners of China.” Social Analysis 66(1): 21-43. [Open Access]
2022, “Affected Methodologies – A few steps on the way.” In Nothing personal?! Essays on Affect, Gender and Queerness. Edited by Omar Kasmani, Matthias Lüthjohann, Sophie Nikoleit and Jean-Baptiste Pettier. Berlin: b_books: 197-207. [Open Access]
2022, “‘A Question of Bank Notes, Cars, and Houses!’ Matchmaking and the Moral Economy of Love in Urban China.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 64(2): 510-536. [Open Access]
2021, “Saving China’s Dogs. Social Transformation and Moral Conflicts in Chinese Society.” Critical Asian Studies 53(1): 71-88.
2020, “Marrying the Perfect Child. Middle Class Norms and Intergenerational Arrangements in the Marriage Corners of Urban China.” Ethnography 0(0): 1-22. [Open Access]