DSA2018: Global inequalities
This panel calls for papers that examine how critical political junctures such as territorial reorganization, political regime change or new forms of subaltern resistance amongst others produce variations in development trajectories in subnational units either across time or space or both.
The uneven nature of development outcomes within countries has led to a surge of interest in subnational research for illuminating problems that national level research misses (Snyder 2001). The persistence of spatial inequalities within countries has focused attention on the subnational political unit as a basis for uncovering the most significant drivers of difference (Kohli 1987, Garay 2016, Singh 2016 and others).
Within this growing body of scholarship however, limited attention has been given to the role of critical political junctures in explaining divergences in subnational development trajectories through their impact on political environments, the roles assumed by key political actors and development institutions. Some scenarios of change could include: spatial or territorial reorganisation of subnational units, institutional shifts, political regime change, new forms of identity politics or subaltern mobilisation, the introduction and expansion of social protection policies or new forms of extraction.
What are the most salient subnational inequalities and variations in development trajectories?
What are the critical political junctures that have produced these differences?
What are the historical, social, political and other characteristics of these junctures?
How do these critical junctures interact and transform the pre-existing political context, social configurations and institutional capacities to produce unequal development outcomes?
These questions aim to shed new light on persistent inequalities as well as the possibilities for change. This panel calls for papers that compare either across time or space or both, while drawing upon a critical watershed to interrogate distinctive subnational trajectories of development.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
From Revolution to Restructuring; Politics and Post Civil War Debates on Development Inequality in Nigeria
The cries of unequal development through the political process in Nigeria, which led to the abolition of regional governance for a unitary system of government and a return to federalism, albeit with expanded numbers of sub-national units, are yet to abate prompting fresh debates for a panacea.
Sixty-three months after independence from Britain, Nigerians woke up to a bloody military coup led by five Army Majors. In the national broadcast by the coup plotters to announce the change of government, the exercise was described as a revolution to address the several ills of the ousted administration including corruption, tribal sentiments, and nepotism in governance and its attendant spatial expression in different parts of the country. The emerging military government which abolished the prevailing confederal system of government for a unitary system was toppled seven months later by another set of coup plotters from Northern Nigeria who felt the region suffered the most casualties in the first coup. The new government devolved powers to the regions and created states to balance the spread of development across the country. With perceived increase in nepotism and territorial injustice, the Eastern Region declared itself a Republic and a thirty-month civil war followed. Since the end of the war in 1970 and the fragmentation of Nigeria into 36 federating units afterwards, spatial inequality in levels of development among the constituencies has remained a constant topic in the country prompting fresh debates over whether to restructure the country along regional lines as obtained at independence. The contributions of subnational jurisdictions, the politics of their emergence, and how well they have addressed development inequality in Nigeria are examined in this work using both primary and secondary data. Analysis of data shows that Nigeria fared better with regionalism while intra-regional inequality was less pronounced.
Dependency and critical junctures: an inquiry into the development process in Kashmir (1947-2016)
This paper provides a political economy perspective to explain dependency historically in Indian controlled Kashmir and argues that critical junctures are extremely important in understanding the dependent nature of Kashmir economy, and its incorporation into the national economy.
Numerous explanations have been offered for explaining dependency and underdevelopment in Indian controlled Kashmir, classified as the world's most militarized zone. However, the limitations' surrounding these explanations is their failure to ground them within a theoretical framework that takes into consideration a historical perspective to explain the present economic outcomes. This paper provides a political economy perspective to explain dependency and underdevelopment in Indian controlled Kashmir. The central question that this paper seeks to answer is why Kashmir is heavily dependent on national economy, and how has this dependency varied during different periods. The paper has divided the post 1947 period into different phases based on regimes that came to power and studies their development strategies. The rationale behind choosing these periods is to facilitate an understanding of how different interest groups were responsible for shifts in the state policy and political economy. The paper then identifies four critical junctures, and explores the outcomes related to politico-legal institutions, variations in dependency, the rise and decline of self-determination movements, and natural resource extractions. Finally, special attention is given to the role of power structures in shaping the development outcomes. The paper argues that these junctures are extremely important and critical in understanding the dependent nature of Kashmir economy, and its incorporation into the national economy.
Key Words: Critical junctures, dependency, Kashmir, Conflict.
Invested in Ambivalence: Internal Colonialism and State Capitalism in Southwest China
This paper draws on ethnographic fieldwork of a town in southwest China to explore the contours of market-led development and the mechanisms through which it produces social inequality. The project builds on the internal colonialism thesis and related works in the political sociology of development.
How might the internal colonialism thesis explain patterns of regional development and stratification in China, and how has China managed to avoid many of the conflicts associated with this process? Recent transitions towards market-oriented development practices and increased integration of rural and urban spaces suggests that these questions have taken on new urgency in the study of development in China. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in 2016 and 2017 (with additional fieldwork planned for summer 2018) to synthesize a possible theoretical answer, I explore three facets development in a small town in southwestern China: the waning authority of traditional religious figures, the increased role of outside investors in mining and industrialized agriculture, and the standardization of cultural practices within the local "ethnic tourism" sector. Within each process I document how the state and allied business leaders work to (a) highlight their role in advancing the region's material development while simultaneously (b) distributing the responsibility for social conflict or increased inequality across a network of anonymous external factors (such as global commodities markets) and ambiguous ethnic hierarchies. The project aims to reexamine theories of state formation, and the internal colonialism thesis's arguments regarding subnational processes in particular, while also increasing the role of ethnic stratification in China within sociological theory. More broadly, the project calls for increased analysis of the "quotidian success" of statecraft by highlighting the delicate social and political processes that make "routine" political incorporation into the state possible.
The political prioritisation of welfare in India: a subnational level analysis of the Public Distribution System in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh
This paper will compare the contrasting welfare trajectories of two newly created Indian states which share the same moment of statehood and similar demographic profiles to identify factors which explain differences in their prioritisation and implementation of a national food subsidy program
India's food security and nutrition interventions have expanded significantly over the last decade to address abysmal rates of undernutrition, child stunting and wasting but its ranking on the Global Hunger Index continues to remain close to the bottom. A significant but understudied challenge to India's expanding food security program and what perhaps explains the stickiness of its rankings is the considerable variability in its prioritisation, implementation and outcomes across states. This paper examines subnational variation in the implementation of India's subsidised food program (or PDS) through a unique paired comparison of two states- Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh that were created in 2000 as part of a territorial reorganisation effort aimed at bringing the political centre of governance closer to local populations, a large proportion of which are indigenous, and improving developmental outcomes. This critical juncture allows us to identify the conditions under which two states which share the same moment of statehood and have broadly similar demographic profiles, levels of poverty and performance across a range of human development indicators pursue starkly different trajectories when it comes to the implementation of the PDS. Based on close to 100 in-depth interviews, a household survey of PDS beneficiaries and archival research conducted over sixteen months, this paper argues that subnational differences in the political prioritisation of welfare depend on four interrelated factors; the configuration of political competition, stability of rent-seeking structures, the relationship between the bureaucracy and political leadership and the nature of engagement between the state and civil society
Natural gas revenue sharing in the Andes: In what sense reducing spatial inequalities?
This work analyses the sub-national politics of natural gas revenue sharing in Peru and Bolivia, and particularly how the institutional outcome and the sub-national context address spatial inequalities at the sub-national level
The 'golden age of natural gas' in Peru and Bolivia has delivered to the sub-national governments a large amount of revenues because of revenue sharing policies. These policies prioritize the distribution of taxes and royalties of natural gas to the sub-national levels where extraction take place. Even though many countries have revenue sharing policies, the political design of those policies might be understood as a result of sub-national power relations within each country. This work looks for analyze the political junctures which trigger sub-national oriented revenues sharing policies in Bolivia and Peru, as well as the effects of those policies over spatial inequalities and sub-national politics. Against this background, this paper addresses three related questions: a) which political conditions enhance revenue sharing politics in each country?; b) how natural gas revenues impacted on spatial inequalities at sub-national level?; c) how those revenues produce new political junctures?
Empirically this analysis is based on Peru and Bolivia in the context of natural gas production, and specifically in the sub-national levels which receive the largest amount of revenues from this resource: Cuzco and Tarija. The results show that a) the territoriality of sub-national powers must be spatially overlapped over the natural resources, and specific sub-national struggles impacted over the whole national frame of revenue sharing; b) the related extractive revenues might reduce spatial inequalities in social expenditures, but do not in terms of productive capacity; and c) the geographical distribution of the expenditure unleash political junctures which might produce new sub-national divisions.
Decentering structural constraints: locating the site and politics of labour reforms in India
This paper draws attention to the continuing relevance of local politics in influencing public policy, through a study of labour market reforms across Indian states and highlights the relevance of regional political economy in influencing reforms.
Globalization, as commonly understood, limits policy choices of a nation by creating structural-institutional constraints. This leads to an important question: are political actors still relevant in shaping policy in the interest of domestic socio-economic concerns? This paper draws attention to the continuing relevance of local politics in influencing public policy, through a study of labour market reforms. It examines the sub-national variation in labour market reforms across Indian states after economic liberalisation and highlights the relevance of regional political economy in influencing reforms. Drawing on evidence from states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and West Bengal, this paper shows that despite pressures of policy convergence, labour reforms vary across states, depending on partisan governments and dynamics of interest group negotiations. Specifically the nature of party competition and support base of governing parties act as important variable in determining pace and orientation of reform. Governments supported by relatively homogenous dominant support base with business presence tend to reform more than parties with heterogeneous support base. The party system operates as an endogenous variable influencing the formation of social bases of support and instrumental interests of political parties. Thus who governs and how is critical to understand policy reforms.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.