Asian Accelerations – University of Copenhagen

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ADI Conference 2017 > Panels > Asian Accelerations

Copenhagen ADI Conference 2017
9th annual international ADI conference
Asian Dynamics Initiative
University of Copenhagen 26-28 June 2017 

Asian Accelerations

Conveners: Lars Højer and Stine Simonsen Puri, Dept. of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen

“Tiger economies” used to associate Asia with speed. Yet, it is increasingly clear that while some ”tiger economies” continue to have elevated growth rates along with rising prices, the general picture is much more complex – and sometimes previous hopes are turned into new fears of stagnation or rapid decline. In this panel we want to add to economic graphs and discourses representing Asian developing economies with ethnographic explorations of living with graphs, numbers, discourses and realities of booms and bursts. How are people in various parts of Asia reacting to – and living “in” – accelerating changes, and how do they imagine the processes that they are part of? What happens when things (are believed to) escalate “upwards” or “downwards”?

We invite papers that focus on specific cases of accelerating economic change in connection with for example infrastructural changes, price changes etc., but we also welcome papers concerned with rapid political changes or changes in belief. It is our aim that the panel will shed light on Asian changes from a bottom up approach, while also developing ideas of how to understand the nature of change in modern times.

For information about the panel please contact Lars Højer and Stine Simonsen Puri.

Programme (subject to change):

PANEL: Asian Accelerations

Monday 26 June 2017



Plenary session – Auditorium 35.01.06





Keynote lecture
Professor Francesca Bray, Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh 
The politics of the handloom: craft, technology and the modern nation in China and India



Panel session 1 - Chair: Stine Simonsen Puri, University of Copenhagen
Room: 7.0.01







Introduction by Lars Højer, University of Copenhagen

Pooja Chowdhary Mehtani, Delhi University College
Between global and local: experiencing Gurgaon, the new Asian city

Fabio Leone, University of Siena
The painful ordeal of India’s democracy. The Indira Gandhi’s Emergency period and its influence for the Indian political

Senjuti Ghosh, Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta
The survival and morality of demonitization 
Concluding Discussion



Conveners: Lars Højer and Stine Simonsen Puri, University of Copenhagen

Session guidelines:
Presentations should be no longer than 20 minutes leaving time for Q&A and discussion.


Session 1

Pooja Chowdhary Mehtani,
Assistant Professor, Delhi University College
Between Global and local: Experiencing Gurgaon, the new Asian City
Asian urban centres have become the centre of academic discourse for the phenomenal changes and transformations they have witnessed at the local level embedding the signs and symbols of Global imaginations. Tall glass façade buildings, malls and metro….the spaces are definitely an effort towards making cities in India visually more globally integrated and noticeably these were absent on the urban landscape till seventeen years back at the beginning of 21st century. The process has been enormously visible in the cities that have boomed in the last twenty years post-globalization. With this background this work attempts to explore and explain the processes in the journey of the town-Gurgaon, that was rather called a “gaon” or village and came to be called as Millennium City. It is located at a distance of less than 20 kms to the national capital city-Delhi. The objectives of the study firstly, investigates and argues on the sudden extreme change in the infrastructure of the Millennium City that is superficially global and secondly, questions the role played by the real estate developers as actors and factors in driving the city’s journey. Considering the number of private developers and the steering role played by them in setting and shaping the city’s trajectory of growth is a pioneering amongst Indian cities. The methodology for the study has been based on ethnographic approach and interviews with the diverse players including the residents, the biggest stakeholders and the real estate developers. So the paper discusses and question the nature of change in Gurgaon and many more such cities in India which is so sudden and global paralleled with the real estate developers as sculptors of the city.

Fabio Leone,
PhD, Comparative and European Politics, University of Siena
The painful ordeal of India’s Democracy. The Indira Gandhi’s Emergency period (1975-77) and its influence for the Indian political system (tentative title)
India’s democracy has gone through several transformations over the decades since independence: among them was the rise of new type of political actors as well as processes of democratic deepening. This paper tries to suggest that Indira Gandhi’s Emergency period (1975-77) played a significant and crucial role in these transformations. The Indira’s Emergency has been a much evoked but little studied event, mainly by political science. Inspired and guided by two Philip Oldenburg’s (2010) insights, I suggest that Emergency can be considered as a very interesting and crucial watershed for Indian democratic regime. Particularly I have the intention of testing if Emergency and its immediate aftermath can be considered as a case of re-equilibration (à la Juan J. Linz, 1978), whereby the India’s democratic institutions continued their existence at the same or higher levels of democratic legitimacy and efficacy. Furthermore, the emergency has influenced the context for and favoured the arising of some transformations and socio-political phenomena (e.g. the rise of new actors – mainly the “plebeians” in politics - to wit the disadvantaged-social-groups-based parties - as well as specific attitudes of political-economic actors that favoured subsequent of economic development) that on turn (and on the long run) have paradoxically “boosted” the deepening and consolidation of democratic regime.

This paper is an exploratory work in order to develop a larger working progress research project aimed to two-fold goals: 1) the empirical understanding of Indira’s Emergency impact on the Indian democratic regime; 2) shedding the light on issues and processes connected with the survival, consolidation and deepening of democratic regime after a crisis and breakdown.

Senjuti Ghosh,
Teaching associate, Department of Economics, Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta
Anwesha Banerjee,
Teaching associate, Departments of Organizational Behavior, Marketing, Strategy, Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta
The survival and morality of Demonetization
Demonetization was introduced in a middleclass rich subcontinent of India as a legal banning of the circulation of all Rs.500 and Rs. 1000 currency notes overnight. This was a bid, pitched to stop the three claimed ‘basic evils’ of Indian economy- Black Money, Fake currency in circulation and money used in funding terrorist activities. The society immediately reflected three kinds of public emotions- the poor felt redemption, the middle-class felt one-up over their rich cousins and the rich felt a psychological acid-reflux as their covert assets needed to increase a few indices in their covertness.

Our research-focus is on the economic expectations amongst the different socio-economic demographics in a sampled metro-city of India, to study demonetization. Our methodology is hence an idiographic study of the accounts of people whom we will sample out of the socio-economic diaspora. The samples will be aimed to be economically disparate. Our findings shall lead us to observing the economic outcomes of the phenomenon as a function of the economic and socio-psychological constraints that we expect to vary across the strata. This shall in turn predict the feasibility, viability and perhaps even the actual expected long-term changes that the national decision makers might have had in sight, before they kick started the subcontinent into the chaotic consequences of demonetization.