Jewellord Nem Singh
Jewellord (Jojo) Nem Singh is Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University.
I am Jewellord (Jojo) T. Nem Singh, an Assistant Professor in International Relations at Leiden University, the Netherlands. I received my PhD in Politics in March 2013 at the University of Sheffield, UK. In 2016, I was the only social scientist from the 16 recipients to win the Japan Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS) Research Award, which gave me the opportunity to work at the University of Tokyo on a cross-regional project entitled The Politics of Natural Resources in Southeast Asia. In 2017, I was subsequently awarded the most prestigious research fellowship in Germany, the Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship, to be based at Freie Universität Berlin and to develop ground-breaking research on State-building for Poverty Reduction: The Politics of Inclusive Growth in Resource-rich Countries. Prior to these fellowships, I was on a tenure-track post as Lecturer in International Development at Sheffield University (2013-2016), an offer that I accepted upon the completion of my PhD thesis.
My main research lies on the intersection between development and democracy in Latin America and East Asia, with particular interest on (1) state-building and developmental states; (2) resource-led industrialization and global governance; and (3) contentious politics and social movements.
Within five years since my PhD was completed, I published 24 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and co-edited four collaborative projects. In 2018, I was the Lead Guest Editor of the special issue in Third World Quarterly, a leading journal in Development Studies, entitled Developmental States beyond East Asia. A book version has been recently published with Routledge (2019). I am the co-editor of Demanding Justice in the Global South: Claiming Rights (with Jean Grugel, Anders Uhlin and Lorenza Fontana, Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) and Resource Governance and Developmental States in the Global South: Critical International Political Economy Perspectives (with France Bourgouin, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).
Jojo welcomes and encourages PhD and MSc applications in line with and related to comparative politics of state-building and democratization, international and comparative political economy of development, and protest politics and social movements in the Global South.
Current Projects (2018-2022)
1. State Ownership in Latin America: Politics, Agency, and Reform (monograph)
Why do states decide to keep their state-owned enterprises (SOEs) amidst issues about their efficiency and productivity? Crucially, how can SOEs serve as an instrument of development rather than a vehicle for rent-seeking? The established literature often posits state ownership as a cause of rent-seeking, market inefficiency, and source of extraordinary corruption. Yet despite the worldwide spread of neoliberal reforms, SOEs have only been partially privatized or subject to market competition. Instead, throughout 1990s and 2000s states have implemented corporate governance reforms aimed at making SOEs competitive – rather than giving up their political authority over their management – as a means to respond to economic globalization. Therefore, the political economy scholarship increasingly focused on the changing relationships between state elites and their public bureaucrats in strategic industries. By focusing on the natural resource sector, this book examines the strengths and limitations of a state-driven industrial strategy. Based on a comparative study of Brazil’s Petrobras (oil and gas) and Chile’s Codelco (copper mining), the book draws from comparative and historical evidence as regards the ways in which SOEs are deployed as instruments of industrial policy and in promoting sectoral innovation. It discusses the SOE-driven growth model as a more nuanced framework to conceptualize the contemporary political economy of Latin American state capitalism. It also makes reference to the durability of this model particularly after the Lava Jato Scandal in Brazil as well as the challenges in maintaining such growth model in the context of the retreat of the Left in the region.
2. The Impact of Global Regulatory Norms on Domestic Resource Politics (with Kate Macdonald, Melbourne)
The politics surrounding governance of extractive resource sectors—encompassing mineral oil and gas extraction, as well as forest and land intensive sectors of the economy—have been highly contentious for as long as modern economic systems have depended on extraction of these resources. Unlike many other industries, the natural resource sector bears deep historical linkages to ideas of national ownership and sovereignty. States remain the central actor controlling access to territories and natural resources, and often fiercely defend the principle of sovereignty over resource governance processes and outcomes.
Yet global regulatory norms also have far-reaching consequences in shaping contemporary resource governance in the developing world. Powerful reforms to liberalize the oil, gas, and mining sectors have been promoted vigorously through the active support of the World Bank and other international financial institutions (Hatcher 2014; Nem Singh & Bourgouin 2013). Transnational regulation has also evolved in the form of international initiatives against corruption, charters embedding transparency, and a multitude of environmental and social regulations—some led by intergovernmental bodies, and some taking the form of voluntary codes of conduct or corporate social responsibility initiatives.
The collection brings together articles that draw on detailed national and sub-national case studies of resource governance from natural resource sectors across three continents of the developing world. Because contemporary resource governance is characterised by an unusually stark juxtaposition of strongly state-centred, and highly transnationalised governance processes, systematic study of the natural resource sectors provides a powerful empirical lens through which to explore broader theoretical questions about the impacts of exogenous processes on domestic regulation and governance in the developing world.
3. Protest Politics in Times of Crisis: Comparative Perspectives from the Global South (with Isamu Okada, Nagoya)
The contemporary politics of protests should be understood in relation to the rise of conservative forces, right-wing national populism, and the retreat of progressive politics in tackling issues such as poverty, inequality and difference. In Latin America, we have witnessed the return of the Right, whose electoral legitimacy was based on the failure of centre-left policies to sustain economic growth. In Asia, populist nationalists like Rodrigo Duterte have campaigned to promote public security and rule of law, oftentimes at the expense of civil liberties and human rights promotion. This project aims to explore the conditions, processes, and limits of protest politics as well as their consequences to the dynamics of contention in the Global South. We are interested in theoretically-driven and empirically grounded papers that offer comparative and cross-regional perspectives on protest politics, social movements, and their relationship with states. We will convene a session in the annual meeting of the International Sociological Association under the RC48 Committee on Social Movements, Collective Action, and Social Change. This first gathering will serve as the exploratory phase to develop a new project on "Civil Society in Times of Crisis", which will be followed through by a workshop in Japan/Leiden aimed at bringing together senior, mid-career, and early career academics from sociology, political science and other related disciplines interested around questions on social justice, democratization and protest politics. The objective is to draft a special issue to be submitted in 2020.
4. Toward a New Politics of Natural Resources: (Re)Conceptualising State-society Relations in Resource-rich Countries (with Jesse Ovadia, Windsor)
Why do some states adopt more inclusive forms of institutional arrangements in the face of growing pressures to extract and exploit natural resources, while others resort to coercive strategies in building their resource growth strategy? How far do pressures from below – principally from organized social movements and local communities – reorganize power relations and institutional arrangements? The special issue attempts to reconceptualise how social pressures filter into institutional arrangements that reflect power and distributional consequences, yielding a better understanding of how state-society relations evolve and what range of outcomes may emerge in resource-intensive economies. Specifically, we wish to examine how institutions change or new policies are adapted in response to multiple internal and external pressures. This approach enables us to move beyond the dominant ‘resource curse’ and ‘rentier state’ models that theorize states, multinationals, and citizens in a functional relationship enacting resource extraction and which treat institutions as a ‘black box’ and a priori arrangements which mediate states and societal actors.
Major research grants
- International Co-Investigator, Who is Responsible for Local Development? A Political Geography of New Structuralism in Export Communities, Fondecyt Regular 2016, Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica, Chile (US$ 187,000), 2016-2019.
- Global Learning Initiative (GLI) Programme, University of Sheffield, Participation to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Global Conference, Lima, Peru, February 23-25, 2016 (US$ 14,506), 2016.
- Principal Investigator, Building Effective States: Natural Resource Exploitation and Environmental Management in Southeast Asia, Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation Award US$ 10,054), 2014-2015.
- Co-investigator, Interdisciplinary Exchanges: Natural Resource Management in the 21st Century, Economic and Social Research Council (ESCR) Research Seminar Series, led by University of Sheffield (US$ 35,026), 2013-2015.
- Co-investigator, World Universities Network (WUN) Research Development Fund, Developing Compatible Energy and Climate Strategies, with University of Bergen, Norway (US$ 11,604), 2014-2015.
- British International Studies Association (BISA) Workshop Grant (only one award in 2013), May 23-24, Sheffield, UK (US$ 4,917), 2013.
- PSA Development Politics Group Workshop Grant, Demanding Citizenship in the Global South, co-funded by the WUN Transformative Justice Network, September (US$ 4,351), 2012.
Awards and Fellowships
- Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers (US$ 80,000), 2017.
- Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) International Research Fellowship for North American and European Scholars (US$ 45,000), 2016.
- SIID-ESRC Fellow, sponsored by the Sheffield Institute for International Development and the Economic and Social Research Council, participant in the Regional Consultations on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Latin America, Quito, Ecuador, April 21-25, 2015.
- World Social Science Fellow, sponsored by the International Social Science Council, participant in the Seminar on Global Social Governance, London, UK, July 28-August 3, 2014.
- Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship, Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI), University of Sheffield, 3-year funding declined for a permanent post on International Development (US$ 100,000), 2012.
- Sole Recipient, Overseas Research Scheme (ORS) and University of Sheffield Studentship for PhD studies which covered tuition fees and living expenses, 2008-2011 (US$ 130,000), 2008.
No relevant ancillary activities