[Lecture] State Spatial Rescaling in India: Subnational States and the Politics of Economic Restructuring, by Loraine Kennedy

Event Details

State re-scaling is the central concept mobilized in Loraine Kennedy’s new book to interpret the political processes that are producing new economic spaces in India. In the quarter century since economic reforms were introduced, the Indian economy has experienced strong growth accompanied by extensive sectoral and spatial restructuring. The book argues that in this reformed institutional context, where both state spaces and economic geographies are being rescaled, subnational states play an increasingly critical role in coordinating socioeconomic activities.

The core thesis is that the reform process has profoundly reconfigured the Indian state’s rapport with its territory at all spatial scales, and these processes of state spatial rescaling are crucial for comprehending emerging patterns of economic governance and growth. It demonstrates that the outcomes of India’s new policy regime are not only the product of impersonal market forces, but that they are also the result of endogenous political strategies, acting in conjunction with the territorial reorganisation of economic activities at various scales, ranging from local to global. Extensive empirical case material, primarily from field-based research, is used to support the book’s theoretical assertions.

Loraine Kennedy will present the book’s main arguments and elaborate on several case studies that form the empirical basis of her thesis, including the implementation of the SEZ policy in Haryana, the use of spatial engineering instruments in Andhra Pradesh and industrial estate development in Tamil Nadu.

Loraine Kennedy is a CNRS research director at the Centre for South Asian Studies (Centre d’Etudes de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud, CNRS-EHESS) in Paris and Associate Researcher at the CSH, New Delhi. She conducts research on the politics of public policy, using a qualitative political economy approach, with particular attention to subnational scales.

Her current work in India covers three main areas: the linkages between new forms of economic governance and industrial development in relation to state rescaling strategies; the positioning of state governments in relation to the national economic reform agenda, both in discourse and action; the assertion of metropolitan cities as growth engines and the deployment of urban megaprojects as an economic development strategy.

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