Research

 

My research spans the fields of political economy, contemporary Chinese studies, institutional sociology, and international relations. My dissertation explores the political economy of China's state-controlled banking sector and how it has supported both rapid economic growth in China at the same time as fostering high levels of inequality, and producing an unstable and unbalanced trajectory of development. The underlying objective of my research is to generate insight into how the evolution of China’s financial system affects our understanding of the role of finance in contemporary capitalism(s), its evolution and how it can be governed more effectively.


The project undertakes a comparison of financial policy and reform under the administrations of 1990s (Jiang Zemin and Zhu Rongji) and the  2000s (Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao), arguing that despite the divergence of both policy priority and ideational orientation between these two eras, the outcomes of financial reform (continued rapid economic growth and widening socio-economic inequalities and imbalances) display significant continuity. I develop the socio-economic concept of a risk environment underpinning economic activity, one which in the Chinese case has been centred upon the banking system and has continued to position economic growth as the overriding means of effective politico-economic governance. Framing the analysis of China’s political economy in this way renders it possible to break down the analytical dichotomy between market-centric and state-centric institutional configurations and move beyond either the developmental state or financial liberalization paradigms, both of which struggle to comprehend the dynamics of reform, growth, and social impact in contemporary China.


From October 2011 until January 2012 I was a visiting doctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Köln, Germany. There I worked on institutional sociological theory and comparative political economy, developing an analytical framework to address the above questions and issues.


From May 2012 until September 2013 I was based primarily in Beijing. During this time I held positions as a visiting researcher at the School of Government at Peking University, as well as a visiting scholar at the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.


In addition to my dissertation, I currently working on a number of projects, related to China’s role in global economic governance, the politics of the international monetary system, and the political economy of reform in contemporary China. I have published peer-reviewed articles in both the Law and International Relations disciplines. My most recent peer-reviewed publication is “Asset or Liability? The Role of China’s Banking Sector in the Political Economy of China’s Rebalancing” (2013) 42:4 Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, in a special issue on Rebalancing China’s Political Economy.



Dissertation Title

The Universality of Capital and Specificity of Politics: State, Market, and Party in China’s Banking Sector, 1992-2012


Research interests

  1. 1.Contemporary Chinese political economy, and its economic and financial development

  2. 2.The evolution of global financial capitalism(s)

  3. 3.The political economy of the international monetary system

  4. 4.Global financial governance, particularly global regulatory standardization

  5. 5.The changing character of the state in global governance

  6. 6.The concept of rationality in contemporary social theory



Book Chapters

  1. 1. Gruin, Julian. “The Pragmatic Pursuit of What? China and the Evolving Global Financial Order” (2014) in Toohey, Lisa et al. (eds.) China and the International Economic Order. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.



Academic Articles - Peer Reviewed

  1. 1.Gruin, Julian. “Asset or Liability? The Role of the Financial System in the Political Economy of China’s Rebalancing” (2013) 42:4 Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, in a special issue on Rebalancing China’s Political Economy.

  2. 2.Gruin, Julian. “‘Freedom’ Through Repression: Epistemic Closure in Agricultural Trade Negotiations” (2011) 37:5 Review of International Studies 2465-2490

  3. 3.Gruin, Julian. “The Rule of Law, Adjudication and Hard Cases: The Effect of Alternative Dispute Resolution on the Doctrine of Precedent” (2008) 19:3 Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal 20



Academic Articles - Non-Peer Reviewed

  1. 1. Blagden, David, Julian Gruin and Jiajun Xu. “Editorial Introduction: Global Financial Governance in an Age of Crisis” (2011) 7:1 St Antony’s International Review 3-11

  2. 2. Gruin, Julian. “Review: A World of Polities: Essays on Global Politics” (2011) 9:2 Political Studies Review 244-245

  3. 3. Gruin, Julian. "Review: Global Political Economy: A Marxist Critique" (2010) 8:2 Political Studies Review 256

  4. 4.Gruin, Julian. “Liberty and Security: Boumediene v Bush” (2008) 30 Hearsay



Current Articles/projects

  1. 1.“Chinese Pragmatism in Global Economic Governance: Constraints and Potentials”. A collaborative project with Dr Huang Wei at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and in connection to the Global Economic Governance Programme at Oxford.

  2. 2.“Just how Capitalist is China’s Financial System? Actors, interests, and discourses in China’s Financial Reform”. A collaborative article with Prof Tobias ten Brink at the University of Frankfurt.

  3. 3.“Continuing to Contest the Liberal Imaginary: China’s Rise and the Internationalization of the RMB” - Journal article in preparation



Invited Presentations

  1. 1.“The Financial System in the Broader Context of China’s Reform and Rebalancing”

            China in Focus Seminar, Warwick, UK, 27 November 2013



Conference and Seminar Paper Presentations

  1. 1.“Fused Institutions = (Con)Fused Rationalities? A Framework for Analyzing Financial Governance in China”

            Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics Annual Conference, Cambridge, MA, 28-30 June 2012;

            5th International Forum for Contemporary Chinese Studies, Beijing, 8-9 August 2012.

  1. 2.“Continuing to Contest the Liberal Imaginary: China’s Rise and the Internationalization of the RMB”

            International Studies Association Annual Conference, San Diego, 1 - 5 April 2012;

            European Consortium for Political Research Conference, Bremen, 4-6 June 2012;

            5th International Forum for Contemporary Chinese Studies, Beijing, 8-9 August 2012.

  1. 3.“The Embeddedness of the Chinese Financial Sector in the Reform Period 1978-2010”

            4th International Forum for Contemporary Chinese Studies, Nottingham, 11-13 September 2011.

  1. 4.“Having It Both Ways: The Role of the State in the Critical Analysis of Global Politics” 

            International Studies Association Annual Conference, Montreal, 15 - 19 March 2011;

            British International Studies Association Annual Conference, Manchester, 27-29 April 2011;

            World International Studies Committee Annual Conference, Porto, 17-20 August 2011.

  1. 5.“The Normative Paradoxes of Strategic Trade Coalitions: A Critical Discourse Analysis”

            International Studies Association Annual Conference, Montreal, 15-19 March 2011 

  1. 6.“Agonism and Deliberation: A Critical Reading in the Context of Global Economic Governance”

            Political Studies Association Graduate Conference, Oxford, 6 -7 December 2010