Rethinking the developmental state

Concept: theories, methods and praxis beyond East Asia

IOB seminar by Jewellord Nem Singh (Assistant Professor of International Relations at Leiden University)

8 February 2018
12.30 pm - 2.00 pm

University of Antwerp, Stadscampus
IOB, Nile Room
Building S , Lange Sint-Annastraat 7
2000 Antwerp

Contact info
+32 3 265 52 96

About the seminar

Examining the experiences of selected developing countries in relation to East Asia, Nem Singh argues for the continued relevance of the concept of developmental states in political economy debates. This lecture attempts to map out and specify the underlying motivations and structural factors that influence the political development of emerging developmental states. While we highlight ‘developmental structures’ – the importance of a technocratic expertise/professional bureaucracy, a pro-business policy orientation, and the extent of state pragmatism in response to systemic vulnerability, we place equal significance to developmental roles (or ‘developmental intent’) and pact-making/political settlements in analysing the rise of state-guided, high growth regimes in the developing world.

Taking into account the unique conditions of economic globalization, we suggest some theoretical pathways from comparative politics and development studies literature to analyse the new actors, institutions, and policy processes that emerged, are being crafted, and are likely to emerge in promoting state-led development. Drawing from collaborative research based on Argentina, Brazil, China, Ethiopia, and Rwanda, as well as cross-cutting themes around institution-building, extractive industries, and the return of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), the paper takes stock and revisits key debates on state-building and governance in the context of globalization.

About the author

Jewellord Nem Singh is an Assistant Professor of International Relations at Leiden University, the Netherlands. Between 2016 and 2017, he was awarded two highly competitive research fellowships by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). Nem Singh likewise held a tenure-track post as Lecturer in International Development (2013-2016) at the University of Sheffield upon finishing his PhD in Politics degree at the University of Sheffield in 2013.

His research focuses on political economy of development and democratization in the Global South, with emphasis on natural resource politics, state-building, and the role of social movements. He is co-editor of Demanding Justice in the Global South (2017) and Resource Governance and Developmental States in the Global South (2013). His work has been published in Annual Review of Environment and Resources, Citizenship Studies, New Political Economy, and Third World Quarterly. He is currently finishing a single-authored monograph entitled Building Developmental Capacity: State-owned Enterprises and Natural Resources in Latin America.