The Asian Mediterranean


The Asian Mediterranean

Port Cities and Trading Networks in China, Japan and Southeast Asia, 13th–21st Century

9780857934260 Edward Elgar Publishing
François Gipouloux, Emeritus Research Director, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, France
Publication Date: 2011 ISBN: 978 0 85793 426 0 Extent: 424 pp
This insightful book draws upon a wide range of disciplines – political economy, geography and international relations – to examine how Asia has returned to its central position in the world economy.

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This insightful book draws upon a wide range of disciplines – political economy, geography and international relations – to examine how Asia has returned to its central position in the world economy.

As in the case of the hosting of the Olympic games, it is cities rather than states which compete, whether as financial centres, logistical hubs or platforms for coordinating international subcontracting. Analysing the historical precedents of the Mediterranean maritime republics, the Baltic Sea Hanseatic League and the South China Sea mercantile kingdoms, the book delineates the way stable economic and legal institutions were developed largely beyond the purview of, and at times in conflict with, the State.

Discussing the strong link between history and contemporary economic situation, The Asian Mediterranean will appeal to academics, including post-graduate students of economics, geography, history, regional studies and Asian studies.
Critical Acclaim
‘Gipouloux’s narrative is clear and accessible, and his conclusions are innovative and insightful. This short review can barely scratch the surface of this impressively sophisticated study.’
– S.C. Levi, Choice

‘This excellent and very original book will help to a better understanding on the long run dynamics of a region that is today taking more and more importance in the world economy, and a major contribution to the internal renewal of the social sciences, that need to overcome their traditional eurocentric point of view. François Gipouloux is a very bright geographer and economist. . . I am sure that The Asian Mediterranean will open the way to other further steps, and will have an important impact on an international English-reading scholarly public.’
– Maurice Aymard, Maison des Sciences de l''Homme, France

‘This intensive monograph, The Asian Mediterranean, is a great synthesis of east–west maritime worlds under an emerging global world. Professor Gipouloux has combined historical studies on global maritime seas with regional economic studies on Asia. He also integrates historical interaction between maritime seas and coastal port cities by creating the imaginative geo-economical concept of the “East Asian economic corridor”, running between Vladivostok and Singapore and locating China, Japan and Southeast Asia into this maritime area. To attain this goal, Professor Gipouloux globalises China through north–south, east–west and past–present combinations, using cross-disciplinary approaches — political economy, geography and international relations — under wide historical perspectives. The Asian Mediterranean opens a new horizon to look into Asia from a global perspective and at the same time reminds us of the connection beyond contrast between East and West.’
– Takeshi Hamashita, Tokyo University, Japan and Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China

‘A fascinating analysis of the proposition that the start of the 21st century is witnessing the rapid rise in South East Asia of a new and powerful transnational economic zone, the Asian Mediterranean. It uses a wide range of historical and contemporary multidisciplinary sources to systematically explore how, why, and in what ways we can better interpret and understand this contemporary version of economic globalisation by looking back to the equivalent processes centred on the ports around the Mediterranean and the Baltic seas during the late 16th century.’
– Peter Daniels, University of Birmingham, UK

‘François Gipouloux has written a vast and comprehensive history of the Asian economic system. In the tradition of Braudel, he paints a picture that is detailed, full of insight, and essentially very long term. On the basis of an analysis of the old Mediterranean and Hanseatic economic networks, he surveys the pre-modern Asian system, bringing it up to date with studies of Yokohama, Hong Kong, Singapore and other Asian hubs. The culmination of many years’ work, Gipouloux throws light on a new China – a China no longer land based and inward looking but dependent on, and a power in, a maritime world.’
– Christopher Howe, University of London, UK

‘Gipouloux’s ground-breaking study based on a long career as a scholar of Asia’s past is a most original contribution to the study of globalization. Connecting past and present, the author has further developed the somewhat vague metaphor of an Asian Mediterranean into a well-defined concept that can also be applied to analyzing contemporary affairs. While in the past the traditional Chinese and Japanese state systems were failing to formulate adequate answers, on a more informal level the port cities were able to meet with the maritime challenges of the emerging modern world system. The author convincingly shows how also in the age of globalization, a string of coastal metropolises continues to be instrumental in opening up the Far Eastern economy to the global economy.’
– Leonard Blusse, Leiden University, The Netherlands
Contents: Preface Introduction: The ‘Mediterraneans’ of Europe and Asia Part I: Two Models of Expansion Without Borders: The European Mediterraneans 1. The Mediterraneans and Global Expansion 2. Long Distance Trade and Urban Sovereignty: The Competitive Model of the Mediterranean at the Time of the Repubbliche Marinare 3. The Hanseatic League: A Model of Cooperation on the Baltic Sea Part II: Early Outlines of an Asian Mediterranean: The Predominance of Tributary Trade 4. Asian Trading Kingdoms and Independent Urban Entities: From the 7th to the 17th Century 5. The Organisation of Trade in Asia: The Weight of Government Monopolies 6. Tributary Trade and Unofficial Trade 7. Japan’s Place in Intra-Asian Trade: Resisting Chinese Hegemony 8. The Asian Maritime System Part III: The Overlapping of Western and Asian Trading Networks 9. European Expansion or Asian Force of Attraction? 10. Forced Openings and Treaty Ports 11. The Cosmopolitanism of Asian Trade Networks Part IV: The Arena of Re-globalisation: The Second Birth of the Asian Mediterranean 12. Chinese Coastal Cities Confronting the Challenge of Globalisation 13. The East Asian Manufacturing Belt 14. Hong Kong versus Shanghai: Rivalry between Middlemen 15. Competition between Logistic Hubs in Asia 16. Hong Kong, Shanghai, or Peking: Where Will China’s International Financial Centre be Located? Part V: The Asian Mediterranean and the Challenges to State Sovereignty 17. Transnational Regions and the East Asian Economic Corridor: An Asian Mediterranean 18. The Asian Mediterranean and the Reshaping of China’s Economic Space 19. Local Protectionism and Trade Wars: Market Fragmentation in China 20. China’s Power Base Shifts Back Towards the Sea Conclusion Bibliography Index
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