Over the forthcoming three years, the EU-Asia Institute, in a joint tutorship with the Faculty of East Asian Studies at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB), will accompany the PhD dissertation of Ilker Gündogan, on "China’s football politics and market creation in the era of Xi Jinping". While traditional East Asian Studies hardly had football on their radar, recent developments like the three major reform programmes on Chinese football with the aim of turning the PRC into a major footballing nation, have put this highly interdisciplinary topic on the agenda.
Tutored jointly by Professors Jörn-Carsten Gottwald from RUB and Albrecht Sonntag from ESSCA, Ilker's work will focus on the following principal research questions : What are, beyond official and popular narratives, the underlying motivations of the Chinese government to promote football in an unprecedented manner? Or, in a nutshell: why football? And: why now? And what does this case study of the big football reform programme tell us about policy-making in contemporary China, especially with regard to the complementarity of top-down and bottom-up impulses of policy initiation?
Ilker is not a newcomer to ESSCA: in 2015, he spent an exchange semester as master student and student assistant at the ESSCA Shanghai campus, helping programme director Maximilian Rech in his administrative work. During this period, he was able to carry out a highly original exploratory study among Chinese football fans, which provided very relevant insight and a good basis for the PhD dissertation project.
Good luck for a successful PhD project!