I am helping to organize a panel at the European Conference on African Studies in Paris next summer (July 8th-10th, 2015). The 2-session panel will focus on the question, Under what conditions does economic development become politically attractive?’
Here is the abstract:
The discourse surrounding economic development has changed once more. No longer defined by an absence of the state, markets and economies are now seen to require ‘good governance’. In place of the state-market divide, we find a politics-market divide, with poor and indebted governments instructed to put politics to one side in the interests of getting serious about development. This extrication of politics from the development process neglects a vast literature documenting the role of internal political and external geopolitical shocks in re-orientating European and Asian power-holders towards economic development as a power accumulation strategy. While conventional wisdom has deemed Africa’s neo-patrimonial political culture too corrupt and its states too weak for the emergence of such a developmental orientation, work by Thandika Mkandawire (2001), Antoinette Handley (2011), and Tim Kelsall (2012), among others, encourages us to more closely scrutinize instances where changing political conditions have pressured political elites to re-evaluate their political settlements and decide economic mobilization is in their interests.
Panel I: From political capture to political mobilization
This panel seeks to unearth such cases by asking, under what conditions does economic development become politically attractive to African political elites? This first panel focuses on exploring these issues in relation to domestic unrest and external geopolitical threats such as cross-border insecurities, inter-state war and terrorism.
Panel II: From resource bounties to fiscal constraints (and back again)
This panel continues from Panel I: From political capture to political mobilization by asking scholars to consider the fiscal pressures encouraging states to become politically interested in economic development. While the perennial problem of ‘political capture’ continues to haunt African state capacities, in some countries (and in some regional and local areas) new developments have encouraged political elites to reconsider the fiscal basis of their political survival and embark on broader based economic mobilization and engagement. This panel therefore welcomes papers exploring political interest in development in relation to issues such as the discovery or deterioration of resources, changing commodity prices, the upward re-appraisal of GDP (and reductions in foreign aid), efforts to mobilise tax bases and the need for increased social or infrastructural spending.
Organisers: Laura Mann African Studies Centre Leiden, Netherlands, Marie Berry, Sociology University California Los Angeles, USA, Lindsay Whitfield, Department of Society and Globalization, Roskilde University, Denmark, Akinyinka Akinyoade, African Studies Centre Leiden, Netherlands and Will Jones, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford
Deadline: Please send 1500 character abstracts to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 20th 2014