Workshop: Developmental States beyond East Asia

Workshop: Developmental States beyond East Asia 

Newcastle University, United Kingdom

Friday, June 5, 2015 

Sponsored by:

School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle University

Development Politics Specialist Group, Political Studies Association



Jojo Nem Singh, University of Sheffield/ PSA Development Politics

Jesse Salah Ovadia, Newcastle University


Developmental States beyond East Asia is a small specialist workshop that will be held at Newcastle University on June 5, 2015. This workshop will explore whether the concept of ‘developmental states’ retains analytical purchase on how states respond to pressures of globalisation, particularly in the aftermath of privatisation and liberalisation of national economies. We will revisit the ‘East Asian model’ to reflect on the theoretical debates on state capacity, political autonomy, and changing state-business relations. In particular,  the workshop will critically analyse how the ‘East Asian model’ has been interpreted and applied in other regions of the developing world, and the degree to which lessons from East Asia have successfully translated across both space and time to provide viable developmental strategies today.


As recent works on state-building suggest (Kuhonta 2011; Slater 2010; Vu 2011), distinctive historical conditions, political legacies, and past state choices shape in large measure the potential for a developmentalist orientation to emerge among national elites.  In this workshop we will explore the role of such conditions in spurring elites to pursue developmental imperatives, while also moving beyond the narrow conceptualisation of development as industrialisation (see Fine et. al. 2013). We will also consider the possibility of ‘democratic developmental states’ (Robinson and White 1998; Mkandawire 2001) and the role of ‘transformational social policy’ (Yi and Mkandawire 2014).


The workshop will showcase empirical research regarding how some states – for example, Angola Argentina, Brazil, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Turkey – attempt to utilise novel approaches to development policy-making that blend together market incentives and state regulations as they become integrated into the international economy. Some of these development strategies include natural resource exploitation, alternative forms of financing development, pro-poor poverty reduction and social programmes, the development of service sectors (such as tourism, ICT, construction and real estate), new industrial planning based on developing new comparative advantages, and/or new forms of incentivisation and protection for infant industries. 


Additionally, we are looking for papers that explore the limited space in which state elites operate (whether traditional ‘policy space’ with regard to aid, or ‘political space’ in ensuring a stable political settlement), and the consequent innovative bargains they must nurture with capitalists in the early stages of development.


Papers will be expected to address one or more of the following key questions:


1)      How can the developmental state model be applied outside of East Asia and outside of the specific historical conditions in which it emerged?

2)      What domestic and/or international conditions are necessary for the emergence of new developmental states?

3)      What specific policies are central to state-led development in the 21st century?

4)      What relationships (if any) can be identified between successful state-driven development and political conditions such as the level of democratization, multiparty competition and civil society activity?

5)      How have today’s ‘developmental states’ managed the politics of transition between elites in their country?


The workshop aims to attract academics and practitioners from a variety of sub-disciplines in the social sciences, including comparative and international political economy, development studies, economic and political sociology, economic geography, and anthropology, among others. A small amount of funding has been made available by the Political Studies Association for travel stipends for postgraduate students. We strongly encourage papers which take historical approaches, intra- and inter-regional comparisons, single case studies on sectors, regions and countries, or those focusing on relations between states, markets and labour. This one-day workshop will set a new intellectual agenda based on cross-cutting research linking state theory, globalization and neoliberalism.


Keynote Speakers


James Putzel

Professor of Development Studies, London School of Economics


David Booth

Director of the Developmental Regimes in Africa Project, Overseas Development Institute




Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words to by 30 March 2015 and indicate if you would like to be considered for a postgraduate travel stipend.

One comment

  1. Reblogged this on A World to Discover and commented:

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