SASE Virtual 2021

E-16 – The Political Economy of Local Development in the Semiperiphery – II: Path Dependence and Change in Shared Understandings That Underpin Development

Saturday, July 3, 2021

6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

What socio-political conditions are conducive to sustainable local economic development? While the concepts and tools of political economy, including work on formal and informal institutions, collective action, coalitions, conditionality, clientelism and corruption, varieties of capitalism, and growth models, have the potential to make a major contribution to addressing this question, scholarly output on the political economy of local development tends to remain scattered across disciplines and geographical contexts.Our two panels address this shortcoming by bringing together scholars from a variety of disciplines and regions, who use concepts, mid-range and macro theories, and tools of political economy to understand why local-level conditions that permit upgrading, innovation and sustainable economic development are present in some places but not in others. We focus on the semiperiphery, loosely defining it as localities where multiple contradictions of development can be observed – where some productive capacities are already present, but the state or local authorities lack the capacity to upgrade them; or where an erosion of social trust has taken place, complicating productive relationships between the stakeholders.

This panel (the second out of two) includes four papers which approach this topic with a focus on the shared understandings that underpin local development, the way that those are shaped via path dependence, and the conditions under which they may change. The papers draw evidence from a range of geographical contexts in Southern and Southeast Europe as well as Southern Africa. Elisa Giuliani and Andrew Spicer examine the puzzle of employee collective inaction in the face of organizational malfeasance in Taranto, Italy, suggesting that employees’ beliefs about the (im)possibility of change were slowly constructed over time based on the observation of the weakness of a series of legal rulings to affect organizational activity, as well as on deliberate firm strategies. On the other hand, Kira Gartzou-Katsouyanni explores a story of local-level institutional change. Drawing on the case of the Greek agri-food and tourism sectors, she argues that local-level cooperative norms can emerge in unfavourable settings, and that this can occur in the presence of leadership by a small group of boundary-spanning leading actors performing particular types of institutional work. Norman Mukwakwami and Naome Chakanya examine the possibility of change in the resource extraction model of Zimbabwe, arguing that an alternative understanding of resource nationalism has the potential to achieve inclusive resource extraction anchored in local-level, community-articulated visions of sustainable development. Finally, Sonja Avlijaš and Kori Udovički argue that self-organizing, noncentral coordination mechanisms can emerge and influence a country’s growth model even when the developmental state is no longer present. In Serbia, the emergence of such mechanisms has been facilitated not only by the introduction of new digital technologies, but also by a strong legacy of industrial capabilities, skills, and a culture of engineering and industrial commons inherited from the socialist era.

Session Organizers

Elisa Giuliani, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy and Andrew Spicer, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC

    Kira Gartzou-Katsouyanni, European Institute, London School of Economics (LSE), London, United Kingdom

      Jesse Salah Ovadia, Department of Political Science, University of Windsor, Windsor, ON, Canada and Norman Mukwakwami, Independent Scholar, Harare, Zimbabwe

        Sonja Avlijas, University of Belgrade – Faculty of Economics, Belgrade, Serbia and Kori Udovički, Center for Advanced Economic Studies, Belgrade, Serbia

        Starting Time

        18:00 CET

        July 3, 2021

        Ending Time

        19:30 CET

        July 3, 2021


        SASE Virtual 2021

        Event Participants