One of the bits and pieces revealed by my moving to the University of Sydney and the Department of Political Economy has been a set of old undergraduate lecture notes, course reading lists, and revision commentaries that were previously filed away and forgotten about. In particular, some of the most intellectually interesting and motivating lectures that I took during my B.A. Hons in International Relations at Staffordshire University was the International Political Economy (IPE) stream of lectures and courses given by Alan Russell. These included his third-year course ‘Politics of the World Economy’ that spanned a twenty week programme of lectures and seminars across 1994 to 1995. Why might this trip down memory lane be mildly interesting to today’s foci in IPE and contemporary debates?
The attention recently granted to the Grand Renaissance dam in Ethiopia, costing more than $4.3bn, forming Africa’s largest hydroelectric plant and raising controversy with Egypt over access to the waters of the river Nile poses anew some questions of geopolitical economy surrounding multipurpose dam construction. There is no better way to learn about such issues than to explore similar, but also specific, in depth studies on social movement struggle in contesting and resisting large-scale built-environment projects. With that aim in mind, my attention here turns to one of the most significant books to appear recently on struggles over dispossession and resistance, focusing on the series of dams constituting the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) in the Narmada Valley, India, and social movement processes in struggling against exploitation, displacement, and everyday violence.
The seesaw of uneven development in Turkey under neoliberal restructuring has led to unprecedented recent growth. After a sharp contraction in 2009, the economy has been in the top three of the G20 club for rapid growth, the rise in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2010 was 8.9 percent, nominal wage growth has hit 18 percent a year, domestic demand is rising by approximately 25 percent, and credit growth is between 30 percent and 40 percent. Perhaps in order to absorb the surplus value that capitalism perpetually produces in the search for ever more profit, urbanisation and public works projects in Turkey have continued at a rapid pace. But can the rise and rise of neoliberalism in Turkey be adequately understood through a focus on the hegemony of the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP)?