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Common concerns anthropology is an experimental approach that identifies research questions not according to gaps in academic knowledge, but through understanding the concerns that people are grappling with in their everyday lives. The concerns include uncertainty, excessive competition, increasing pressure, and feelings of powerlessness. The concerns that reflect people’s subjective experience of objective social contradictions. As immediate, unarticulated perceptions, concerns demand new language and methods through which to analyse them.
Biao Xiang is Director of Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Germany since 2021, and Professor at the University of Oxford before that. Xiang has worked on various types of migration in China, India and other parts of Asia. He is the winner of the 2008 Anthony Leeds Prize for his book Global Bodyshopping and the 2012 William L. Holland Prize for his article ‘Predatory Princes’. His 2000 Chinese book Transcending Boundaries was reprinted in 2018 as a contemporary classic, and Self as Method (coauthored with Wu Qi) was ranked the Most Impactful Book 2020 in China. Through public-facing articles and interviews, Xiang’s ideas regularly generate wide discussions in China and beyond. His work has been translated into Japanese, French, Korean, Spanish, German and Italian.