This article examines recent knowledge sharing initiatives aimed at promoting South Korea’s development experience as a ‘development alternative’ and questions the coherence of the narratives being shared. Drawing upon an idea first put forward by Anna Tsing, I discuss how South Korea’s development cooperation initiatives occupy a zone of awkward engagement in which multiple meanings of its experience have proliferated and explore the anxieties that this engagement creates for practitioners. In particular, the article finds that practitioner anxiety is informed by a triple set of pressures for Korea to export an alternative development model, extend the overseas activities of domestic businesses, and entertain the ambitions of ruling political blocs. By focusing on questions of anxious engagement and the seemingly strategic ambiguity of knowledge sharing efforts it produces, the article highlights some of the limits and possibilities that shape the promotion of the Korean developmental state as an alternative development model for South–South cooperation and extends the emotional register of literature on emerging donors by questioning discursive claims that privilege empathy and reciprocity as drivers of development cooperation.
|Number of pages||18|
|Journal||Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space|
|Early online date||3 Feb 2020|
|Publication status||Published - 2020|