International Development Planning Review

Of corridors and chains: translocal developmental impacts of academic mobility between China and Germany

International Development Planning Review (2011), 33, (4), 475–489.


This paper examines the impact of transnational geographical mobility among Chinese and German scholars using the concepts of 'development corridors' and 'development chains'. A temporal-spatial analysis of two case studies – (1) a multi-generation actor-based network of social scientists and (2) the vibrant connections between the Department of Geography at the Sun Yat-Sun University of Guangzhou and various German institutes – illustrates how seemingly individual, isolated and temporary episodes of academic mobility can, through interacting with factors ranging from unforeseen events to framework conditions, lead to chains of events that produce, reshape, strengthen, weaken or even erase corridors of knowledge production and exchange. Both cases demonstrate the need to view geographical mobility and its relationship to development beyond national and transnational frameworks, and the need to pay attention to translocal and highly contextualised processes that shape and are being shaped by the multiple elements of the mobility-development nexus.

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Author details

Leung, Maggi