Jamie Doucette


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Personal profile


Postgraduate Opportunities

I am happy to supervise PhD students who are interested in research in the following areas:

  • Geographical Political Economy of East Asia
  • The urban transformation of developmental states
  • Labour geographies
  • Democratization and the politics of space
  • Mutations of territory and sovereignty

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss ideas for research.


University of Manchester, October 2012 - Present.

  •   Leverhulme Research Fellowship 2018-2019
  •   Korea Foundation Fellowship (Seoul National University) 2016
  •   Member: Center for Asian Urban Societies, Seoul National University 2018-present

In addition to my teaching and research at Manchester, I currently serve as the Co-Chair of the School Ethics Committee.

University of British Columbia. Researcher/Lecturer Department of Geography 2011-2012

Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo. Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Economics, 2010-2011

University of British Columbia, Human Geography PhD 2010

Sungkonghoe University, Seoul. Visiting Researcher, Democracy and Social Movements Institute, 2006-2007

Research interests

My work fits broadly within the field of geographical political economy, and is situated at the nexus between political, economic, and urban geography. The topic that has consumed much of my time over the last decade is the restructuring of the East Asian "developmental state" model in the context of neoliberalism and democratization. This work has paid particular attention to new imaginaries of economic reform among progressive intellectuals; the expansion of non-standard work and the role of the labour; the politics of international development cooperation; new urban experiments in industrial policy and geopolitical engagement; processes of post-democratization and their contestation, among other topics. I've looked at these topics primarily in the context of South Korea but my work draws on and includes the wider regional and global scales of political economic transformation.

There are four general themes that my current research falls into:

The Post-developmental state

The longest-standing concern of my research to date been on the political economic transformation of the Korean 'developmental state'. I've examined the effects of processes such as financialization, labour market reform, and expansion of official development assistance. This work has been particularly sensitive to the role of liberal and progressive actors in shaping and contesting economic policy, and outlining some of the normative and political dilemmas they have encountered. More recently, I've been interrogating the politics of expertise, by questioning representations of developmental planning and claims about the rationality of elite bureaucracies.

Geographies of labour control and labour activism

This work has examined changing patterns of labour control in South Korea that have been central to the institutionalization of precarious work, as well as responses from social movements, reformers, and trade unions. My past work has looked at issues of punitive control strategies and traumatic tactics in dialogue with other scholars examining global production and neoliberal restructuring. More recently this work has examined labour reforms in the wake of Korea's Candlelight Revolution of 2017, including efforts to create insitutions of social dialogue at both urban and national level.

Urban developmentalism in East Asia

Much of the literature on developmental states ignores the urban scale, while much literature on urbanization in East Asia ignores the influence of developmentalism. This project examines the ways in which urban space has been targeted for developmental intervention in both Cold War and Post-Cold War contexts in East Asia. I've been working on this project as part of the Center for Asian Urban Societies based at Seoul National University. My contribution to this area has been to look at territorial experiments such as special economic zones as well as the circulation of narratives about solutions to urban-rural inequality through Korea's ODA policy. With Bae-gyoon Park, I've edited a special issue of Critical Sociology on the topic and a recent book on Brill/Haymarket entitled Developmentalist Cities? Interrogating urban developmentalism in East Asia. I hope to begin a new project shortly on the politics of localizing blockchain technologies through special economic zones in East and Southeast Asia.

Shaping political space

Much of my research is concerned with understanding the political in relation to economic change. Some of my past and recent work deals with this issue at a more conceptual level and has contributed to discussions of how we understand the political space and processes of post-democratization in various contexts. More recently I've been writing in a more Gramscian lens about how we might understand questions of political will, the role of personality in politics and a standpoint critique of developmental state theorizing.


Recent funded projects

Award start and finish date


Project Title


Jan 2022-Dec 2022


Strategic internationalization grant. (Blockchain and SEZs 4.0)




Korea’s Candlelight Revolution and the Transformation of the Postdevelopmental State.

Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship

Sept 2017 Aug 2021


Postdevelopmental urbanism in East Asia

National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2017S1A3A2066514)

Feb 2017-June 2017


Friction between Firms and Floors


Sept 2014 – Aug 2017


SSK Project on East Asian Cities

National Research Foundation of Korea, (NRF-2014S1A3A2044551)

Sept 2014 – Aug 2017


Modularizing development: South Korea's Knowledge Sharing Program and the geo-political economy of development expertise


Feb 2016 – July 2016


Exporting the Korean Development Experience: Institutions, pathways, and infrastructure

Korea Foundation Fellowship for Field Research (Ref.: 1022000-003867).

Sept 2015 – Aug 2016


InterAsian Connections V Seoul Workshop Geopolitical Economies of (Post)developmental Urbanization in East Asia

Social Sciences Research Council (USA)

Dec 2012 – July 2013


Debating Economic Democracy in East Asian Export-Oriented Economies


My research has an interdisciplinary profile, and I frequently peer review articles for journals inside and outside of the discipline such as:

Annals of the American Association of Geographers; Antipode; Asian Studies Review; Area; British Journal of Industrial Relations; Capital and Class; Canadian Journal of Development Studies; Critical Asian Studies; Critical Sociology; Democratization; European Journal of Korean Studies: Environment and Planning A; Erkunde: Archive of Scientific Geography; Forum For Development Studies; Geoforum; Geopolitics; Global Labour Journal; Globalizations; Historical Materialism; International Journal of Urban and Regional Research; Journal of Civil Society; Journal of Asian Studies; Journal of Contemporary Asia; Marxism 21; North Korean Review; Political Geography; Political Power and Social Theory; Regional Studies; Religions; Urban Geography; Urban Planning; Third World Quarterly; Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, among others…

Activities and esteem

Recent Talks (selected):

The political economy of (in)coherence: Development narratives, anxious practitioners and Asian emerging donors. Globalization, Transnational, and Development Colloquium. Maastricht University Mar. 2021

Social Justice in the Developmentalist City? Contesting the nexus between urbanism and developmentalism in East Asia. Department of Asian Studies, University of Edinburgh Jan 2020

The Postdevelopmental State: A Gramscian Interpretation. Department of Geography, York University, Nov. 2019

Social Justice in the Developmentalist City? Academy of Korean Studies EPEL Program Lecture. Dept. of Asian Studies Goethe University 22 May 2018

The Postdevelopmental State: A Gramscian Interpretation. London School of Economics, Department of Geography and Environment, Urbanisation, Planning and Development Seminar Series. 15 January 2018

“What Kind of Democracy is Candlelight Democracy?" Emergence of Candlight Democracy and a New Governance Paradigm. International Symposium. Plaze Hotel, Seoul Oct 2017

Zones of Awkward Engagement: The Korean development experience and the politics of international development cooperation. Sogang University, Global Korean Studies Seminar Series, Seoul, June 2017.

Democracy after postdemocratization: Korean Politics after the Impeachment of Park Geun-hye. UCLA Center for Korean Studies/Department of Geography February 2017

When the spirit becomes technique: Saemaul ODA and Korea’s Knowledge Sharing Program. Seoul National University Asia Center, June 2016

Other Selected Presentations

Zoning Epistemologies? Blockchain, neoreaction, and other emergent socio-technical fantasies of SEZs EARCAG-GPE Osaka, Japan Dec 2019.

Against legitimacy? The democratic deficit of developmental state theory. Effective States and Inclusive Development Conference, University of Manchester. Sept 2019

Zoning Epistemologies: Zoning technology, Blockchain and Socio-technical fantasies of special economic zones. Development Zones in Asian Borderlands Workshop. Aarhus University, Denmark 17-18 June 2018

Korea’s Special Economic Zones: Locating GVCs on the Korean Peninsula and Beyond. Global Value Chains in Modern Economic History Workshop, University of Bayreuth, Germany 12-14 June 2018

Roh 2.0? The Moon Jae-in Administration and the Integral State. Academy of Korean Studies Europe Conference. Rome April 11-15

Revolution Economics? Korea’s Candlelight Revolution and the Postdevelopmental State. New Perspectives on Korean Geography Symposium. EHESS, Paris, March 20-21, and ASKE Rome April 11-15

With Bae-Gyoon Park. Developmentalist Cities? Debating Urban Developmentalism in Korea and East Asia East Asian Regional Conference in Alternative Geography 10-15 Dec. Taegu, Korea

“Urban Developmentalism and the Politics of Inequality in Seoul” Yun Po-Sun Symposium, Inequality in Global Cities: The Case of Seoul, University of Edinburgh. Oct 8-9 2018.

Organizer (with Soyeun Kim, Sogang University) New Perspectives on Emerging Donors: anxieties, intellectual histories, and hybrid identities. Development Studies Association Annual Conference. Manchester, June 2018-06-13

“Anxieties of the emerging donor: The Korean development experience and the politics of international development cooperation.”  Development Studies Association Annual Conference Manchester June 2018

With Martin Hess. Firms vs. Floors: Interrogating labour's geographical strategies within and beyond global production networks. RGS-IBG, London, Aug. 2017

Situating postdemocratic labour control in South Korea. Association of Asian Studies. Toronto, March 2017

Organizer, with Bridget Martin and Jim Glassman. Mobilizing Infrastructure: Developmental States and the Politics of Planning and Construction. EARCAG, Hong Kong December 2016.

Postdemocratic Labour Control and Worker Suicide in South Korea. International Workshop on Suicide and Work in the Globalised Economy. European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, London, Sept. 2016.

Postdemocratic Labour Control in South Korea: Damage Claims and the Erasure of Workers’ Space.”  Paper presented (by Susan Kang) at the 112th Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Philadelphia, Sept. 2016.

Special Events

Workshop Director: Geopolitical Economies of (post) developmental Urbanization in East Asia. Social Science Research Council (SSRC) Inter-Asian Connections V, Seoul National University April 2016.

Supervision information

Recent and current PhD students:

(with Mark Usher) Sherlock Liu The Emperor's view of the frontier: North Manchuria as a political space

(with Admos Chimhowu) Jeongseong Lee. Hybrid donorship: Korean aid and the political economy of international development cooperation

(with Jonathan Darling and Helen Wilson) Ben Knight. Audible citizenship and the politics of listening within two refugee and asylum-seeking services in Greater Manchester. Defended June 2020

(with Martin Hess) Felipe Irarrazával. Global Production Networks and the Extractive Sector: Natural Gas Rents and Regional Economic Change in Bolivia and Peru. Defended Dec 2019




My regular teaching includes offerings in political, economic, urban, and labour geography such as the following, among others...

GEOG 10101 Geographies of Globalization

GEOG 20072 Hong Kong Fieldcourse

GEOG 31071 Asian Workers and the Labour of Globalization

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

Visiting Scholar, Seoul National University

Feb 2016Jul 2016

Areas of expertise

  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • developmentalism
  • neoliberalism
  • labour
  • cities
  • financialization
  • development
  • democracy
  • authoritarianism
  • Korea
  • East Asia
  • expertise
  • political philosophy

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global inequalities
  • Work and Equalities Institute
  • Manchester Urban Institute


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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  • JCA Prize 2017

    Doucette, Jamie (Recipient), 11 Nov 2016

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)