The Mediterranean Model: Autonomous cities, trading networks and law merchant in Medieval Europe and in East Asia


 Room Segalen, 25/F, Admiralty Centre, Tower 2, 18 Harcourt Road, Hong Kong

by Francois Gipouloux (National Centre for Scientific Research)

Reservation & Contact: Heipo Leung / tel: 2876 6910


Economic reforms and opening-up have favoured a new wave of urbanisation and strengthened the international function of China’s great coastal cities. In other words, China is split from its continentality by a highly attractive maritime area. This shift towards the sea is the reactivation of a very ancient maritime tradition. Does it portend the formation of an Asian Mediterranean, with great metropolises like Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, acting as platforms for global flows ?

While globalisation accelerates the erosion of sovereignties, the rise of cities’ international ambitions, the emergence of governance archipelagos as elements of a global governance make us rethink the relationships between cities and states. Such a new dynamics of international economics shapes a landscape where the control of flows matters more than the control of territories. Such a phenomenon has historical precedents, with the emergence of global places around the Mediterranean at the end of the medieval period in Europe. There, fragmentation of the political order had lead to a fierce competition between different jurisdictions. The outcome was been major institutionals innovations, at the root of the economic and political dynamism of modern Europe.

Where are the new Venice, Genoa, Bruges or Amsterdam, in the 21st century ? How are these new megalopolises integrating themselves into the new geography of economic power ?


François Gipouloux, a specialist in Chinese economics, is Director of Research at the CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research) and teaches at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Graduate School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences), Centre Chine, Corée, Japon. His recent publications include: Méditerranée asiatique: Villes portuaires et réseaux marchands en Chine au Japon et en Asie du Sud-est, XVIe-XXIe siècles, Paris, CNRS-Editions, 2009 (Mention de l’Académie de Marine, 2010); english translation: The Asian Mediterranean: Port Cities and Trading Networks in China, Japan and Southeast Asia, Edward Elgar, 2011; La Chine au XXIe siècle: une nouvelle superpuissance économique?, Paris, Armand Colin, 2005 (Prix Francis Garnier); he also edited Gateways to Globalisation: Asia’s International Trading and Finance Hubs, Edward Elgar, 2011.


This seminar will be held in English.
Sebastian Veg, Director of the CEFC, will chair the session.
Snacks and drinks will be served after the seminar.
Seats are limited. Please confirm your attendance.













Retour en haut de la page