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CompetingHegemoniesForeign-DominatedProcesses of Development in Cambodia Research Program NetherlandsOrganizationforScientific Research WOTRO Sciencefor Global Development Integrated Programs 2009-2015
This program addresses foreign-dominated processes of development in Cambodia, in particular economic growth and democratization, Within a theoretical framework based on critical perspectives on globalization and development, In a context within which these processes are shaped by the current Western practice of promoting democracy and the strong (East) Asian economic presence. The focus is on a plethora of (foreign) institutional actors Who are cooperating, competing and conflicting in the Cambodian ‘development industry’ And who – by doing so – create opportunities and threats for (newly emerging and established) Cambodian actors. THEME
The program is an Integrated Program; it aims at • Identifying, analyzing and ‘making sense of’ the contributions of foreign, national and local actors to civil society and economic growth in Cambodia, • contributing to capacity building among Cambodian academics and professionals, • organizing the exchange of knowledge among all actors involved. AIM
In which ways do the partly converging and partly conflicting worldviews and interests of foreign hegemonies and related Cambodian stakeholders affect both the formation of a civil society and the development of an embedded economy? CENTRAL QUESTION
Five (overlapping) clusters of institutionalactors: 1. Local and international NGOs 2. The Cambodian private sector 3. Foreigninvestors (China mainland, South Korea…) 4. Government (multiple levels) 5. Ethnicgroups, Cambodian diaspora and returnees 6. The HigherEducation sector ACTORS
NGOs (international and local) at the interface of Western democracy. East Asiancapitalism, national politics and localpractices: the case of land conflicts. (2 post-docprojects) • LocalNGOsbalancingbetweensocialvaluecreation and profit-making: the dawn of socialenterprises? (PhD project) • China’sinvestments in Cambodia (hydro-power): analternativepath to development? (PhD project] • The SouthKoreaninvestment boom (in the agricultural sector): anopportunityforCambodianenterprises? (PhD project) • InstitutionalEntrepreneurship of Cambodianreturnees: transnationallinkages. (PhD project) • The revitalization of ethnic Chinese business networks in Cambodia. (PhD project) • The Business of HigherEducation in Cambodia. (PhD project vacancy) PROJECTS
Specific aspects of the original proposal become more pronounced. While the empirical research within the programme is unfolding, the embedded nature of the processes of development is strongly emphasized. The contribution of this programme to critical globalization scholarship will be the analysis of foreign-dominated processes of development in Cambodia from the perspective of locally embedded power relations. • The challenge remains with the strategies of participatory and integrative research. Access to international and local NGOs as well as diasporic entrepreneurs and business associations is often difficult to obtain but upon unrelenting efforts and the mediation by our collaborating key-stakeholders relevant informants finally become available. • The interaction among scholars with divergent disciplinary background on the one hand and participating stake-holders on the other indeed generates synergy for the benefit of all. Scientificsignificance
The overall objective is sustained: to assess the competing paradigms of neo-liberal aid and good governance separately and in confluence in order to feed the outcome of this assessment into programs for capacity building using education as a vehicle of generating social change. • The program successfully involves a growing number of diverse and competing stakeholders in a sustained dialogue throughout the program and involves participants (including the current research group) in processes of mutual learning encouraging them to change and develop. • Surprisingly, one category of stakeholders has been difficult to involve: the sector of higher education. It is this sector which is a major exponent of competing hegemonies in Cambodia. This finding has resulted in an additional project added to the program with the purpose of both investigating this sector and implementing plans for capacity building. Relevancefordevelopment
The overall objective of the program is implemented as planned: design the current research program in terms of a process of mutual learning including (international) academics and stakeholders. • However, it remains yet to be seen whether this approach will have an impact on social processes of change. Such an impact will be hard to assess within a short span of time. • We assume that the researchers exposed to the learning process as outline here and the results emanating from this research program will be capable of making a contribution to social change in the future. International collaboration
Howwill we guarantee the balancedinvolvement of all stakeholders in research and action plans? • Howcan we assurethat the findingswillbeadequately and comprehensivelybesharedwithourstakeholders? • Howcan we contribute to transformingouracademicconclusionsinto ‘applicable’ knowledge? • Whowillbe the ‘owner’ of our data? • Whowill want to useourfindings? • What are the ‘caveats’ here? • Howmay the proposed program directlyinitiatechange, next to identifying/analyzing/ contributing to capacity building? ISSUES