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GSSC Seminar Series
5 March 2024


The Village Super League: Southwest China's Multi-Ethnic Village Society, Public, and the State in a Football Carnival

Yanyun Wang (Southwest University in Chongqin, China)


The Village Super League, known as "Cun Chao (村超)," unfolded in 2023 within Rongjiang County, Guizhou Province, Southwest China. This football competition was characterized by the participation of local ethnic minority villages, garnering widespread media coverage and drawing significant attention from tourists nationwide. This presentation explore the multifaceted phenomenon of "Cun Chao," encompassing the following parts:

In the first part, the socio-cultural context of the local multi-ethnic society associated with this event is presented. This elucidates the reasons behind the occurrence of "Cun Chao" in this specific locale. The argument posits their social relationships characterized by “equality”, the social interactions life and collectivism embodied in regional associations of villages are key factors in the emergence of “Cun Chao”.

The second part explores the responses of various stakeholders, including local villagers, the public, and the government, following the extensive coverage of "Cun Chao." The presentation delves into the aspirations of local ethnic minority groups to gain visibility. Simultaneously, against the backdrop of the politicization of Chinese football, the public registers disillusionment with the corruption prevalent in national football, redirecting their enthusiasm towards the grassroots level in the form of local football leagues. The government, aiming to harness "Cun Chao," seeks to fulfill national rural development and political-economic objectives. These inherent "divergences" contribute to the carnival ambiance surrounding this event.

In the conclusion, I try to interpret Cun Chao using concepts from discussions in Chinese history and anthropology.These concepts highlight how the resilience and compatibility of society are continuously generated through practice in China, and meanwhile, guide us to consider how people have created variability throughout China's unified historical process.