Henrik Kloppenborg Møller

affiliated with the university, MS.c., Chinese language, level A-C, BA

Research areas and keywords

UKÄ subject classification

  • Social Sciences


  • economic sociology, anthropology , China studies, Value , Yunnan, gemstones, Ontology, Kachin



My PhD dissertation examines intersections of material, economic and cultural aspects of carving, trade, and consumption of the gemstone jadeite (feicui 翡翠), the highest valued form of jade, in China.

The dissertation discusses 1) how jadeite is materially transformed from raw stone to carved jewellery; 2) how jadeite is traded and valued economically in its journey through different locations; and 3) cultural imaginations underpinning the demand for jadeite in contemporary China.

While the dissertation seeks to demonstrate how jadeite is employed to create economic value, and how the material manifests cultural identity and imaginations in contemporary China, some more dire consequences of the jadeite mining and trade in neighbouring Myanmar will also be discussed.

Methodologically, the project is based on interviews and ethnographic fieldwork in Myanmar (Mandalay, Myitkina, Tachileik), Thailand (Mae Sai, Chiang Mai, Bangkok), and China (Ruili, Mangshi, Yingjiang, Tengchong, Kunming, and Shanghai). The main bulk of fieldwork (10 months) has been conducted in the border town of Ruili, situated in the Dehong Prefecture of China’s Yunnan province, neighbouring Myanmar’s Shan state. 

My research interests include jade trade, social organization, ethnicity, and economic development in the Sino-Myanmar borderlands, as well as relations between materiality, knowledge, value, authenticity, and identity in China.

Recent research outputs

Henrik Kloppenborg Møller, 2017, Emptiness and Fullness : Ethnographies of Lack and Desire in Contemporary China. Mikkel, B. & Bregnbæk, S. (eds.). Berghan, p. 104-117 14 p. (International Studies in Social History).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

View All (6)