Lisa Richaud

Status: FNRS Postdoctoral Researcher

ULB - Institut de Sociologie
Avenue Jeanne, 44 - CP124 - B-1050 Bruxelles
Office : S12-206
Phone : +32-2-650 34 23 - Fax : +32-2-650 43 37
Email :

Based on fieldwork conducted in urban China since 2009, my research is structured around three main themes: (1) experiences of urban public places, sociality and affects; (2) forms of expression and collective presences in public, interrogating more specifically their political dimension; (3) the making of subjectivities.

In my doctoral thesis, I explored the place-making practices of retirees in Beijing’s public parks, with particular attention to the re-deployments, in other time-spaces, of “red culture” performances that can be traced back to the Mao era. The thesis questioned the (non-)political dimension of this ludic reappropriation of explicitly ideologically-laden tunes by individuals who lived through the end of the Cultural Revolution. A monograph based on this work is currently in preparation.

My work within the collective, multi-disciplinary project Migration, Mental Health and the Chinese Mega-City (King’s College London / Fudan University; 2017-2019) has focused on the everyday experience of rural migrants in two neighborhoods of Shanghai, in an attempt to elucidate how subjectivities are modulated through engagements with a variety of urban spaces. Drawing on this ethnography, my work in progress is concerned with the ways in which notions of ambivalence and detachment complicate ongoing discussions on “neoliberal subjectivities” and aspirations in contemporary China.

As an FNRS post-doctoral researcher (2019-2022), I will carry out a new research project on public solitude in the night-time Chinese city.


Peer-reviewed journal articles

- Forthcoming, 2020 (with Ash AMIN), Life amidst Rubble: Migrant Mental Health and the Management of Subjectivity in Urban China, Public Culture.

- 2018, Between "face" and "faceless" relationships in China’s public places: Ludic encounters and activity-oriented friendships among middle and old aged urbanites in Beijing public parks. Urban Studies, vol.55, no. 3, p. 570-588

- 2016, « Au parc par temps de fête : Fêtes étatiques et performances publiques à Pékin aujourd’hui », L’Espace Politique, 30 | 2016-03.

- 2015, Mise en scène de l’innocence et jeux d’attention : Autographie d’un terrain sous surveillance dans un parc public pékinois.Civilisations, vol. 64, no. 1&2, pp. 23-34.

- 2014, (with Astrid NORDIN), Subverting official language and discourse in China? Type river crab for harmony. China Information, vol. 28, no 1, p. 47-67.

Book chapters

- (Forthcoming) Afterthoughts. Rethinking the Spatial Politics of Presence in China’s Youth Cultures. In: Vanessa Frangville and Gwennaël Gaffric (eds.), China’s Youth Cultures and Collective Spaces: Creativity, Sociality, Identity and Resistance. London: Routledge.

- (Forthcoming) Face à l’incongru. Indésirabilité, “affects ordinaires” et socialité dans un lieu public à Shanghai. In: Mathieu Berger and Sarah Van Hollebeke (eds.), Les espaces publics urbains et leurs indésirables. Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses Universitaires de Louvain.

Other publications

- 2018, (avec LI Jie), Living through Urban Transformation: Living through Uncertainty. Experiencing Urban Transformations in a Migrant Neighborhood of Suburban Shanghai. Urban Transformations Blog (ESRC & University of Oxford)

- 2013, Working while Being Followed: Reflections on Fieldwork Constraints in a Beijing Public Park. Text published online by the LSE Field Research Method Lab following the workshop organized on the theme "Addressing Field Research Constraints in China", London School of Economics, 6-7 juin.

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