Publications on Chinese-African relations have flourished over the last few years. When it comes to designating and situating the actors, whether Chinese or African, most writers focus on the economic sphere: entrepreneurs, traders, brokers, employers and employees, intermediaries, etc., figures whose interdependencies need to be placed at the heart of analysis and examined in conjunction with other parameters.

Other factors can indeed be taken into account. We may cite, for example, individual training or reconversion strategies adopted by employees or students; the different ways of investing new spaces of social mobility and legitimation that are developing in both China and African countries; and the backing of possible professional and/or family networks.

 The diversity of the practices observable can, for expatriates, be correlated with the length of stay and the modes of integration in the host country; in certain cases, with the varying forms of juxtaposition of different fields of activity; and, in all cases, with the degree of mastery of the foreign partners’ language.

 As a prelude to its final conference, the ANR EsCA programme would like to open up the reflection on these categorizations in order to contribute, ultimately, to renewing descriptive and conceptual tools.

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