One of the most striking phenomena of China’s recent history is the singular life trajectory of the generation born in large metropolises between the end of the 1940s and the early 1950s. After having endured with full force their country’s upheavals and ruptures after 1949, the people of this generation occupy dominant positions in most sectors of social life today. Yet despite its importance, the history of this generation—who contributed to build what China is today—has not triggered much academic research. The seven life stories presented in this study provide information and a testimony that help understand how these people elaborate a discourse on their personal experience. Analysing this discourse makes it possible to grasp the connections between individual life paths and events as well as social determinations.

avec la collaboration de Madhi Mehraeen et Ibrahim Tavalla

War since 1979 and the reconstruction of the state under Western tutelage since 2001 have led to a simplification of the identity of Afghan society, through an invention of ethnicity and tradition – a process behind which the control or the ownership of the political and economic resources of the country are at stake. Hazarajat is a remarkable observation site of this process. Its forced integration into the nascent Afghan state during the late nineteenth century has left a mark on its history. The people of Hazara, mainly Shi’ite, has been relegated to a subordinate position from which it got out of progressively, only by means of jihad against the Soviet occupation in the 1980s and the US intervention in 2001, at the ost of an ethnicization of its social and political consciousness. Ethnicity, however, is based on a less communitarian than unequal moral and political economy. Post-war aid to state-building has polarized social relations, while strengthening their ethnicization: donors and NGOs remain prisoners of a cultural, if not orientalist approach to the country that they thereby contribute to “traditionalize”, while development aid destabilizes the “traditional” society by accelerating its monetization and commodification.