Graduate student panel: Rethinking the Developmental State in Asia

March 29, 2016 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Room 626, Sixth Floor, Kaneff Tower
York University
Toronto, ON M3J



A panel featuring Guillaume Dandurand (PhD Candidate, Social Anthropology), Yasin Kaya (PhD Candidate, Political Science) and Kenneth Cardenas (PhD Candidate, Geography)


On the development state in India and its impacts on the ‘right to food’
Guillaume Dandurand, PhD Candidate, Social Anthropology

‘Development’ has had different political objectives in India. Since the economic liberalization some twenty-five years ago, there is a clear orientation in financial investment from the state in physical infrastructures, mostly used by a growing middle class, rather than in social welfare that has for sole purpose to abridge the gaps of wealth. In a Polanyian move, the Congress Party created the para-public institution National Advisory Council in 2004 that has in retrospect given a series of ‘rights’ to the marginalized and the poorest of the poor, with relative success. Based on second hand literature, participant-observation and interviews, I focus on the formation of the Indian ‘right to food’ as a playground to conceptualize development in the Modi era and shed some light on the ways in which political projects deflects on mundane practices of governance.

Guillaume is currently a doctoral student in the Social Anthropology graduate programme at York University. Theoretically informed by the sub-field of economic anthropology, his PhD dissertation seeks to ethnographically examine the ways in which “the economy” is connected to the practices and meanings of food, foodways, and food (in)security in New Delhi, India. Broadly speaking, his areas of research are: political economy, political ecology, capitalisms, theories of development, actor-network theory, the concepts of governmentality and habitus. His main site of research is the (Targeted) Public Distribution System, a 50-year-old distribution program for subsidized food and non-food items that is currently on the verge of being overhauled by the central government. Guillaume holds a BA in Communication/Journalisme at the Université du Québec à Montréal and a MA in Mondialisation et développement international at the University of Ottawa.


Withering Away of the Korean Developmental State?
Yasin Kaya, PhD Candidate, Political Science

Is the Developmental State being dismantled in South Korea? Is the very concept of “developmental state” no longer viable? Or did the developmental state merely shifted its priorities to adjust to new external conditions? What has changed in the way that the Korean state intervenes in the economy?

Yasin’s research interests are at the intersection of political economy and political theory, with a focus on economic development and the state in Turkish and Korean contexts. He is currently working on his PhD thesis, which compares the telecommunications sectors in Turkey and South Korea. He is also interested in the themes of economic policy, state theory, history of economic thought and labour movements. Yasin is a Vanier CGS scholar (2010-2013).


Forfeiting developmentalism to the developers: SOE reform and Philippine capitalism today
Kenneth Cardenas, PhD Candidate, Geography

During the 1970s, the Bagong Lipunan (‘New Society’) regime under Ferdinand Marcos embarked on an ambitious public investment initiative. More than 200 government-owned or controlled corporations (GOCCs) were set up over a ten-year period, in an attempt at replicating the successes of export-oriented developmental states in East Asia. Most of these enterprises failed, and were targeted for restructuring and reorganization by the subsequent governments and the Philippines’ development partners after the 1986 revolution.

In this session I examine the imprint left by GOCC reform on the development of capitalism in the Philippines over the subsequent three decades. I revisit how a specific understanding of the state’s role in the economy was developed and rehearsed through the reorganization of state corporations: one which prioritized financial viability as the key metric for their performance. I argue that this vision led to two important features of capitalism in the Philippines today. By locking the biggest GOCCs into revenue-generating privatization and asset-disposition forms, it restricted opportunities for pursuing strategic and developmental objectives through GOCCs. At the same time, it also created conditions which enabled Philippine-nationality conglomerates to became the primary beneficiaries of privatization, and of immense growth in energy, and infrastructure. I conclude by examining the potential for cultivating the nascent developmental tendencies within some GOCCs.

Kenneth is presently working on a PhD in human geography at York University, Toronto. He works on the big business of building big new cities in the global South, the use and abuse of disaster risk management in defining and controlling unruly and unwanted urban populations, and ways to claim new urban commons. He previously taught sociology at the University of the Philippines Diliman from 2008 to 2010, 2011 to 2012, and in 2015. He holds an MA (distinction) from the University of Manchester and a BA from UP Diliman, both in sociology.

All are welcome!

This event is part of the YCAR Rethinking Developmentalism in Transnational Asia series.



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