Proceedings of The 4th International Conference on Modern Approach in Humanities and Social Sciences
Technological development and nation-building in China: Constructing an innovation-driven economy with Chinese characteristics
Rafael Torquato Cruz
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the impact of globalisation and national identity on China’s policies to become an innovation-driven economy. It examines the scientific literature concerning theories of technological development, which cluster around two opposing poles: one associated with globalisation and economic liberalism (techno-globalism), and the other with nationalism and protectionism (techno-nationalism). The research examines key literature on China’s economic and social development through a constructivist framework to comprehend the defining characteristics that shape the Chinese national identity and its guiding beliefs. A directed content analysis method is used to create a coding scheme with three categories: i. creation of innovation; ii. direction of innovation; and iii. normative framework. This categorisation was applied to the last five Five-Year Plans for National Economic and Social Development (10th to 14th), which cover the period 2001 to 2025. The results of the research reveal that China has consistently adopted a liberal strategy of open market to promote technology transfer and consequent development of national science, technology and innovation (STI) capabilities. However, the analysis does not seem to indicate a broad adoption of the techno-globalist framework either, as this non-isolationist strategy was chosen to boost technological transfer with the goal of achieving autonomy in the long run, enabling China to redefine and construct its national identity as an innovation-driven nation and a global leader. Innovation, therefore, has not only an economic value, but is a fundamental piece of a broader civilisational mission.
keywords: innovation; national identity; policy; science and technology; China.