A Global History of State Enterprises in Developing Countries, 1950 to present

A Global History of State Enterprises in Developing Countries, 1950 to present

Marie Huber, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
all-online (via zoom and a conference website)
From - Until
26.11.2020 - 27.11.2020
Marie Huber, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

This workshop aims to discuss the relevance of state enterprises for development planning during the postcolonial development decade in the 1960s as well as for the structural adjustment programmes in the 1980s.

A Global History of State Enterprises in Developing Countries, 1950 to present

The international dimension of development planning has been the focus of a large body of scholarship over the past decade. Similarly, the influence of economic internationalism on national economies, in particular those of developing countries in the postcolonial period, has been widely discussed. While plenty is known about the planning processes concerning the involvement of international donor organisations and the entangled history of development aid and foreign politics, our knowledge of domestic economies of developing countries is often fragmented. In recent years, several historical and anthropological research works have demonstrated the relevance of business records, especially those of multinationally or internationally operating corporations from the Global North, for understanding postcolonial national economies. More specifically, a more in-depth look into the parastatal sector is still missing from this debate. Often created as devices to stimulate development on the one hand, and as protection for vital sectors against foreign profit interests on the other hand, their history presents an entry point to a better understanding of the relationship between development planning economics, state-building processes, and the transformation of societies. Which actors, institutions, and networks were involved in founding and managing state enterprises? What constituted the public or the private sector in postcolonial, developing economies? Which macro- and microeconomic theories and concepts, or which national and international schools of thought competed or collaborated, and how did that relationship evolve? What were the most important platforms and networks for the circulation of knowledge, as well as for economic relationships? What is the most promising methodology for case studies when source material is often scarce or difficult to come by?

To explore these questions, an all-online workshop will take place in November 2020, consisting of an asynchronous presentation part and a synchronous discussion part on the 26/27 of November.

The focus of this workshop will be to connect ongoing research projects. We invite papers contributing to this nascent field of research, either through regional and national case studies, or by addressing methodological questions, for example on how to integrate economic with historical, quantitative with qualitative analysis. Scholars from all career stages are encouraged to apply!

Please send a short abstract (ca. 250 words) along with a CV (or alternatively include a link to an online profile in your email) to marie.huber@hu-berlin.de up to September 18. Your notification of acceptance, along with further organisational details, will follow at the end of September.

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Marie Huber

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