Zambia Discussion Group - Development, Neoliberalism, and the Zambian State: A Strategic-Relational Approach (CANCELLED due to illness)

Zambia Discussion Group - Development, Neoliberalism, and the Zambian State: A Strategic-Relational Approach (CANCELLED due to illness)

Wednesday, 2 March 2016 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Venue: 
Seminar Room, African Studies Centre
Speaker(s): 
James Chamberlain (PhD student in Politics, University of Sheffield)
Convenor: 
Yuzhou SUN

Development, Neoliberalism, and the Zambian State: A Strategic-Relational Approach

Abstract

From the 1980s onwards, the development agenda of the Zambian State was driven by a neoliberal paradigm promoted by international financial institutions. However, during the 2000s substantial reductions in external debt, growing domestic revenues, and investment from so-called non-traditional actors produced a context of decreasing material dependence on external aid revenue, and assertions that there was now “development space” for the emergence of unorthodox policies. Additionally, such changes came at a time of supposed “neoliberal crisis” and the apparent emergence of alternative development models for states within the Global South. This paper will explore the domestic and international dynamics that have shaped the Zambian State’s subsequent development agenda, and propose a theoretical framework for analysing this which addresses weaknesses in existing theories of the “African State”. It will be argued that neoliberalism continues to have a significant (if uneven and contingent) regulatory influence on development policy in Zambia, and in making sense of this, it is important to see the Zambian State in ‘strategic-relational’ terms.

Bio

I am currently studying towards a PhD in Politics at the University of Sheffield. My thesis is entitled ‘The Political Economy of Development in the Context of Decreasing Aid Dependency and “Neoliberal Crisis”: The Case of Zambia’, and seeks to assess the extent to which the Zambian state has sought to move “beyond” the neoliberal agenda promoted by Western donors in recent years, whilst examining the possibilities and obstacles for the emergence of a form of Developmental State. Previously, I completed a BA in International History and International Politics and an MA in Politics with Research Methods, both also at the University of Sheffield.