DSA2016: Politics in Development
- Khalid Nadvi (University of Manchester) email
- Alex Shankland (Institute of Development Studies) email
- Jennifer Hsu (University of Alberta) email
- Emma Mawdsley (University of Cambridge) email
The emergence of China and fellow 'rising powers', such as Brazil, India, South Africa and Russia, is having a profound impact on international development. This panel examines the multiple interrelated ways in which rising powers are (re-)shaping international development trajectories.
The emergence of China and other so-called 'rising powers', including but not limited to Brazil, India, South Africa and Russia, is having a profound impact on international development. This panel examines some of the multiple interrelated ways in which rising powers are (re-)shaping international development trajectories. What characterises China as a development actor? What theoretical contributions can be derived from analysing Chinese development practices or those of other rising powers? How do rising powers' domestic policies to tackle inequality, for instance via social welfare or labour standards, influence other countries? How are their development cooperation activities constructed and contested by multiple actors in ways that defy both conventional framings of "state", "private sector" and "civil society" and easy categorisations of "aid" and "investment"? How effective and transformative are their development activities on recipient countries? How is the past shaping South-South cooperation, whether at the level of geopolitics, bilateral and trilateral cooperation or the individual development encounter? Finally, to what extent has the sharp economic slowdown across the emerging economies called into question not only these countries' own future development trajectories but also their ability to shape those of low-income countries?
We invite papers that will broaden the horizons of the debate on rising powers and development, addressing one or more of these themes:
• Rising powers in international development: blurred boundaries, diverse actors and contested politics beyond the state-business-civil society divide
• Identity, history, memory and the politics of South-South Development Cooperation
• China as a development actor
• Rising powers and future development trajectories
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
Rising powers and the emergence of the global development era: a geographical perspective
A new geography of global development is emerging, as highlighted in the SDGs. Yet this paper argues that it is rising powers and “little d” transformation in wealth, poverty, inequality and trade, which have driven the transition to a new, uncertain spatial framing of development.
With what has been referred to as the post-2015 moment, it has become increasingly common to talk of the "universalization", and a global framing, of development. This involves a clear shift of development studies and development intervention beyond the traditional, and influential, spatial distinction of "developed" and "developing countries" and related terms. This article reviews the shifting geographies underlying what is increasingly being called global development. It is suggested that while such a move beyond the traditional spatial focus of international development on developing countries is most dramatically emphasised in the formation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it did not begin with the SDGs. Instead, it can be situated within major shifts within the world economy and the associated geography of wealth, poverty, inequality and trade over the last half century. Tracing changes in both "little d" immanent transformation and "big D" development intervention, this paper identifies the key role of the rising powers in this transition to a global development era. While the issue of sustainable development has provided the most momentum to the need to take a more universal approach, considerable work remains to more fully outline and understand this emerging global development era and the messier map of development which it entails.
Rising powers in the geopolitics of development: historical lessons from Bandung and Bretton woods to Nieo
The entry of rising powers has opened up new opportunities in the geopolitical landscape of development. To move forward, this work looks back on the movement for a New International Economic Order (NIEO) to derive lessons from an intellectual history tracing back to Bandung and Bretton Woods.
The entry of rising powers in the geopolitics of development presents a real opportunity to change the landscape of possible choices or trajectories for developing countries. A critical question then arises in how to sustain and institutionalise such momentum towards a more open and multipolar development arena.
This work addresses the above by looking to the past for a way forward. History proves significant here in two regards. The first is in the basic notion that history offers valuable lessons, in the sense in which Santayana remarks that "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." The second lies in the manner in which the legacies of the past very much live on in the present. If one is to reform the political terrain of development, it is worth knowing how this present state first came to be.
For the rising powers, history is all the more significant in light of antecedents in the Third World movement. Namely, the rise and fall of NIEO provides a compelling example of past successes and failures. Tracing back to Bretton Woods and Bandung, this work shows how successful political mobilisation came to face the limits of Western liberalism and Third World diversity. A key finding here is the need for intellectual foundations to sustain political momentum. This—along with the interwoven contexts of domestic politics, international politics, and the politics of knowledge that emerge from NIEO history—may point to some of the challenges that lay ahead.
Globalism versus regionalism in China's trade policy
The aim of this paper is to analyse China’s trade policy. Especially it will discuss the significance of the WTO and preferential trade agreements for China as a platform for pursuing its trade interests.
The current state of China's trade policy stems from the reforms initiated in 1978, which fundamentally transformed it. The PRC abandoned its earlier policy of self-sufficiency and tight control of foreign trade and capital flows in favour of opening up of the economy and integrating it with the global economy. The crowning achievement of this process was China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), which contributed considerably to the country's current position in global trade.
With the escalating crisis of the Doha Round negotiations, China made the same decision as other countries to take actions towards obtaining access to foreign markets through free trade agreements with selected economic partners. The aim of this paper is to analyse the measures taken by China in order to liberalise trade in the context of dysfunctionality of the mulitilateral trade system. The paper is divided into two essential parts. The first part discusses the significance of the WTO for China as a platform for pursuing its trade interests, while the second one identifies the reasons why the PRC establishes free trade areas and describes the evolution of the Chinese strategy towards preferential trade agreements.
South-South cooperation and the new rhetoric of development - a response to the past and a vision for the future
The rising powers are engaging in development assistance that has been framed in a distinct and evocative way, espousing the principles of solidarity, respect for sovereignty, mutual benefit and partnership. But does the reality reflect the rhetoric? And is there power in the rhetoric alone?
"Southern donors" have framed their cooperation activities in rhetoric that is a response to the aid programs of Northern donors and a vision for a new type of development assistance. This rhetoric has at its core certain principles that are meant to guide cooperation between Southern countries: solidarity, respect for sovereignty, mutual benefit, and partnership. The implication is that these Southern partners can offer countries of the South a new type of relationship based on equality and respect that can result in effective development and mutual exchange for both parties. Focusing on Brazil and Venezuela as two major Latin American countries providing assistance to the region and beyond, this paper looks at the meaning and importance of this development discourse, whether it is gaining traction amongst recipients and onlookers in the international sphere, and whether these principles can be seen in cooperative activities on the ground. Two small Caribbean nations, St Lucia and Grenada, are used as case studies for how these principles can play out in practice between countries that both identify as "Southern" but otherwise have huge discrepancies in size, power and wealth. Using extensive interview data and program information, the research attempts to answer the questions of whether something genuinely new and different is occurring in these partnerships, and whether this rhetoric holds meaning in and of itself even when it may not be apparent in action.
The use of "history" in Brazilian South-South cooperation
Drawing on four months of institutional ethnography at a Brazilian international university, the paper critically discusses the use of "history", more specifically the reference to the history of Trans-Atlantic slavery in Brazilian South-South Cooperation with African countries.
In recent years Brazil has expanded international development cooperation in Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa emphasizing transatlantic slavery as a "shared history" to justify its engagements. Drawing on ethnographic research at the new federal University of International Integration of Afro-Brazilian Lusophony (Unilab) and extensive document analysis, I found that discourses of "shared history" create an image of a supposedly dialogical and mutually beneficial relationship across a historically and developmentally homogenous community of Portuguese-speaking countries and people. The everyday making of the university, however, is shaped by competing and often contradictory interpretations of these discourses. Various groups of actors, who are positioned differently vis-á-vis the project, struggle against shifting yet dominating Brazil-centered conceptualizations of what constitutes a "shared history". The particular discursive construction allows the government to reimagine Brazil as a pluralistic nation-state, but constructs "Africa" as "historical other". This paper speaks to the overall panel because it shows how the Brazilian government dominates the interpretation of "history", which reduces "Africa" to an icon of Brazil's internal conflicts over state approaches to racialized inequalities, rather than to foster the kinds of dialogical relationships it claims to provide.
History and political imaginaries: Brazilian development workers in Mozambique
The paper explores historical (dis) continuities in the political imaginaries and discourses of Brazilian development workers in Mozambique across time. This historical perspective sheds light into the politics of South-South cooperation between the two countries as lived by individual professionals.
The paper focuses on interactions between Brazilian and Mozambican development workers in two distinct moments in history - in the early 1980s soon after Mozambique's post-independence and in the early 2000s with the arrival of President Lula da Silva in power and the strengthening of Brazil's South-South cooperation policies towards Portuguese speaking Africa. Drawing on interviews with a life history approach with Brazilian development workers in Brazil and Mozambique, the paper investigates changes and continuities in the political imaginaries related to South-South cooperation and their personal and professional interactions with Mozambicans. Institutionally and historically locating individual trajectories provides a useful lens to understand some of the contradictions and ambiguities embedded in the politics of South-South cooperation.
Chinas impact on regional integration and development in the African Union
The paper analyses Chinas transformative potential for the regional development and integration process in Africa and compares the main differences in Chinas and Western approaches to interregional cooperation (in Africa).
China maintained till a few years ago a neutral position towards regional organizations in Africa and focused on increasing their bilateral relations with the continent. In recent years however the Chinese emphasis on supporting regional integration in Africa increased and new forms of cooperation were established. The interactions with regional and multilateral organizations in Africa are conceptually guided by the pursuit of amicable, peaceful and prosperous neighbors and follow a pragmatic approach, which favors bilateral relations pur-sued in the multilateral framework of the Forum of Chinese African Cooperation (FOCAC). China has established a unique form of interregional cooperation in Africa that challenges the European perception of Interregionalism as a paradigm to promote a "regionalized mul-tilateral" global governance. The relationship between China and the regional- and sub-regional organizations in Africa is categorized as a hybrid form of "asymmetrical Interregionalism" in which a regional organization, such as the African Union, interacts bilaterally with a single power. Building on Heiner Hänggis categorization of Interregionalism the paper investigates the extent to which new paradigms of Interregionalism, promoted by China might impact on regional integration and capacity-building in the African Union.
A framework of systemic functions of Interregionalism has been developed, using perspec-tives from neorealism, liberal institutionalism and constructivism, to describe the different aspects of the China-AU dialogue, comprising internally and externally focused functions of Interregionalism. The empirical findings show that the main functions in the context of sino-african cooperation are intra-regional institution building, political diversification, regional development, security cooperation and collective identity building.
Focac and the politics of China-Africa development cooperation: a critical assessment
The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), a South-South institution created in 2000, is a crucial site of reflection and production of idea, policy and practice in China-Africa relations. This paper will discuss the shaping of FOCAC in the changing geography of China-Africa development.
The paper seeks to critically assess and analyse FOCAC, and its emerging 'material, ideational and ontological' challenges to the international development regime (Mawdsley, 2015). Since its inception in 2000, FOCAC meets every three years, and has become a crucial site of presentation and change in China-Africa relations, providing a critical lens on the construction of power in the evolving development landscape.
Despite the almost universal mention of FOCAC in relation to China-Africa relations, and the surge of Southern institutions more generally, this paper will be one of the first to provide a detailed, discursive analysis of the emergence, evolution and functioning of FOCAC. To date, there is only one book in English on this subject by Prof Ian Taylor in 2011.
In this paper, I will discuss the following arguments about the discourse of changing narratives of FOCAC, through a critical reading of its core documents. First, FOCAC consistently makes economic growth the centre of its development agenda, with growing assertion of the private sector and state-corporate interest beyond aid. Second, FOCAC has become increasingly sensitive to external reputation and international norms, in its evolving attention to agendas e.g. local livelihoods and governance. Third, FOCAC undertakes a distinctive 'performance' for various audiences, by inhabiting the language of Third Worldism on the one hand, and being not shy at all of money talk on the other. Fourth, FOCAC is shifting its pattern of focus from individual bilateral towards regional multilateral, alongside Africa's formalising integration and China's expanding efforts of global capitalism.
Unpacking African agency: the role of bureaucratic minorities in Africa-China infrastructure projects' negotiations: a case study of Benin
This paper investigates the bureaucratic politics of negotiation by small states engaged in asymmetrical relations with larger states. Based on fieldwork it studies the negotiating tactics of bureaucratic actors of African state, Benin, when negotiating infrastructure contracts with China.
This paper challenges the assumption that West African francophone countries' dependency on aid and foreign investment necessarily limits their capacity to bargain effectively and exert influence in negotiations with China, as well as the assumption that African bureaucracies are ineffective and passive in their relationship with China. This paper has three specific objectives: (1) it establishes the extent to which the government of Benin has been able to exert influence before, during and after infrastructure negotiations with the Chinese government; (2) it explains this variation by exploring the role of bureaucracies and civil servants, domestic party politics and the political executive, and how they impact negotiating strategems and tactics; (3) it distils new insights into the conditions under which small states exert influence during asymmetric negotiations. In so doing, thisThe study re-evaluates the role of small states in international negotiations, and analyses how negotiation varies within a country and across bureaucracies. By joining up theories of bureaucratic institutionalism with empirical evidence that weaker actors can influence negotiations depending on the structure of their bureaucracies and the roles that sub-levels of bureaucracies play during these negotiations, this paper will show how these parameters impact the negotiation outcome. In so doing, this paper aims to contribute to a small but growing literature on African agency in Africa-China relations.
Understanding a terminological paradox: conceptualising government-organised non-governmental organisations (GONGOs)
This paper offers a conceptualisation of government-organised non-governmental organisations. It identifies how they are qualitatively different from NGO and theorises how their increasing presence in development can change state-society relations and international politics.
The role of non-governmental organisations in local and global governance has continued to grow, widening in terms of issue areas and across contexts. Nowhere has this growth been more notable, and for some puzzling, than in authoritarian states like China. Since the presence of NGOs has long been seen as a marker of civil society and antecedent to democracy, the growth of these organisations in authoritarian polities can be surprising. At the very least, this growth suggests a changing character of state-society relations. But, it has also brought about the rise of a new organisational type: the paradoxical government-organised non-governmental organisation (GONGO). Although these organisations have proved to be an academic curiosity, they have heretofore not been properly conceptualised. In this paper we carefully identify how they are qualitatively different from NGOs, and we theorise how the growth of these organisations can change state-society relations and international politics, both in authoritarian and democratic contexts.
Development experience sharing as a new paradigm of South-South cooperation
This paper examines two interlinked projects on China agricultural development and poverty reduction experiences sharing with Tanzania, and presents a new paradigm of South-South Cooperation with features of a multiple-way learning process based on peer-to-peer sharing relationship.
The new model of South-South Cooperation (SSC) differs fundamentally from the traditional paradigm in its modality and nature. Recently the southern countries including China have their own experiences and resources after several decades of development efforts to promote an innovative international development cooperation relationship in the new era. This paper takes two projects by China Agricultural University in Tanzania as a case to examine its origins, contents, progress, as well as its outcomes and impacts. The key elements and features of SSC are then summarized based on the empirical data. The case indicates SSC has been reshaping the relationship between China and the world. It entails the new development knowledge, which not only originates from China's own development experiences, but also underpinned by China's knowledge on the social, economic and cultural practices of the other country. The new development knowledge is produced during the interaction process between China and the other part of the world. This case shows SSC is a multiple-way learning process based on peer-to-peer sharing relationship and following the local development priority. The knowledge in the sharing has been generated in the practices, rather than through purely theoretical debates. The key of the novel SSC is the agency of the local partners in the development process.
South-South cooperation on low-carbon development: a case study of China's involvement in South Africa's renewable energy development
This paper analyses the potential opportunities and obstacles for rising powers to cooperate on low-carbon development by using a case study on China’s involvement in South Africa’s renewable energy sector.
Developing countries are responsible for nearly 65% of global carbon emissions of which the majority from emerging economies, including China, India and South Africa. Hence south-south cooperation on low-carbon development, particularly among the rising powers, is a significant component to make sure the historic Paris climate change deal can be realised. This paper investigates how China is engaging in South Africa's renewable energy sector and seeks to answer the following research questions: i) How are domestic policies and politics within China and South Africa shaping cooperation between the two countries in renewable energy sectors? How transformative are Chinese activities in wind and solar PV sectors, in terms of challenging and destabilising the coal-dominated energy system within these two countries?
Based on intensive field investigations in both countries and interviews with stakeholders from government departments, industry and finance, this research aims to identify the key institutional arrangements and interest configurations that either promote or deter China's increasing involvement in South Africa's renewable energy sector. Our initial findings thus far are that the nature of China's involvement in South Africa's renewable energy sector is rather different to most Sino-African energy investment such as hydro-electricity in Ethiopia, Congo or Sudan. Rather than being driven by a bi-lateral political relationship, most Chinese investors and technology suppliers are competing with other international companies as part of a commercially driven process. Such mode of cooperation are more likely influenced by the configuration of global value chain and domestic market or policy fluctuations.
Tapping into rubber: Chinese development cooperation in Southeast Asia
Chinese investment in rubber in Laos is an important case of Chinese development cooperation. It demonstrates a conviction among Chinese actors of the transferability of China’s development approaches to other country contexts.
China's spectacular economic rise presents an alternative to the Western story of development. As China increasingly engages in development cooperation, its own unique development experience informs its interventions in other countries. The case of Chinese rubber investments in Laos is an important harbinger for the long-term consequences of Chinese development cooperation, and presents a key counter example to cases of China-Africa cooperation which dominate the literature.
This paper argues that China's experience with rubber as a driver of development in Xishuangbanna (the region in Southwest China bordering Laos) provided political justification and structured the investment strategies of Chinese companies promoting rubber in Laos throughout the early 2000s. This occurred in part because most investing companies, their equipment and inputs, and the managers they hired to establish and run their rubber plantations came directly from Xishuangbanna. But Chinese actors from the state to the plantation level also drew on perceived similarities between Xishuangbanna and northern Laos to cultivate a belief in the transferability of Chinese development strategies to other country contexts. Through an analysis of Chinese investment in this border area, I aim to address calls for greater attention to the geopolitical specificities shaping patterns of Chinese investment and development cooperation. Nevertheless, these findings demonstrate that critically examining how Chinese investors relate their own development experience to other country contexts reveals common logics in the operation of Chinese capital and thus approaches to development cooperation across its interventions globally.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.