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Dr. Gil Hizi

Dr. Gil Hizi

Fellow in the project "Social Worlds: China's Cities as Spaces of Worldmaking" (September-December 2022)

Short Biography

Gil Hizi is a Humboldt postdoctoral fellow in anthropology in the Global South Study Centre at the University of Cologne (PhD University of Sydney, 2018). He studies social change in China with the focus on concepts of personhood, interpersonal ethics and emotions. His field research has been mostly based in psychotherapeutic centres and extracurricular programmes of personal development. His articles have been published in journals of Anthropology and Asian Studies, including Ethos, Social Analysis, Asian Studies Review, and Hau.


Positive Psychology and Social Dilemmas in Urban China

This project examines the ways that self-help expertise in China, with an emphasis on positive psychology, addresses ethical challenges associated with China's market expansion and urbanization. My research data include academic texts, advice shows in popular media, self-help literature and online support groups. I identify key tropes and values in the ways these sources interpret people's everyday challenges. The goal of this project is not so much the construction of therapeutic subjectivities as it is understanding the ways that this globalized expertise configures ethical dilemmas. In particular I am interested in the ways expertise addresses concerns of commodification, productivity, and value-making in relation to both interpersonal ethics and the singularity of the individual self.