Guanxi, social capital theory and beyond: Toward a globalized social science

Xiaoying Qi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)


Western theoretical traditions can benefit from systematic engagement with non-Western concepts: This is shown through an analysis of the Chinese concept guanxi. After considering the general nature of guanxi, including its possible association with corrupt practices and its particular cultural characteristics, the paper goes on to identify the elements of its general form which have universal representation. The possibility of conceiving guanxi as a variant form of social capital is explored. This shows the way in which both the expressive and instrumentalized forms of guanxi indicate otherwise neglected aspects of social and economic relationships not always recognized and addressed by analogous terms current in social theory but which are none the less important for its advancement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-324
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Gift
  • Globalization
  • Guanxi
  • Reciprocity
  • Social capital
  • Trust


Dive into the research topics of 'Guanxi, social capital theory and beyond: Toward a globalized social science'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this