24.7.2021 13:00
Neijuan - Involution
Synnika and Soeng Joeng Toi

13:00 in Frankfurt and 19:00 in Guangzhou

In this online workshop we will talk to a Wildcat author from China about "Neijuan" - 内卷. The word Neijuan is composed of the characters for ‘inside’ and ‘roll’ or ‘to roll’ and is intuitively understood as something like ‘turning inwards.’ It can be translated as ‘retreat’ or ‘involution’. It means stagnation or stasis due to loss of friction or a process that binds its participants without benefiting them. Involution also means the opposite of evolution. Neijuan is fashionable right now, like Sang culture a few years ago, or currently (Hunshui) Moyu (‘fishing in muddy waters’). Originally used to describe a self-reinforcing process in agrarian societies that prevents them from progressing, ’Neijuan’ has now become the term that the metropolitan Chinese use to describe the ills of their modern lives, their sense of frantically treading water in a hyper-competitive society. Intense competition with low chances of success, be it in high school exams, on the job or marriage market, or when working mad overtime. Johannes Agnoli used the concept of involution to describe the "regression of democratic states, parties, theories into pre- or anti-democratic forms." We will discuss how concepts like Neijuan and Involution are describing phenomena of our present time in different local contexts.

The workshop will take place online - please register for participation by email to hello [at] synnika.space. The language of discussion is English (with Chinese and German translation available).