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Alemu Asfaw Nigusie and Mohammed Seid Ali

As an alternative development track, developmental state ideology has been openly introduced in the public policy makings of the Ethiopian state only after 2000. In essence, developmental state ideology could be understood as building the capacity of a state to address its diverse development challenges. As such, it is basically about creating enabling normative, structural, institutional, technical, and administrative environments in a given state to achieve its national development vision. In this regard, there are five defining features to evaluate as to whether a given state is indeed developmental: democratic nation building practices with committed political leadership, autonomous and effective bureaucracy, coordinated national development planning, sound social policy, and institutional capacity. In light of these conceptualizations and characterizations of the fundamentals of developmental state, the paper aims to contribute to our understanding of the actual state of developmental state ideology in Ethiopia by critically exploring and evaluating its actual performance. Accordingly, the findings of this paper reveal that Ethiopia fails to satisfy the basic standards of being a developmental state as it claims to be. Thus, the paper argues that the so-called ‘developmental state’ in Ethiopia is something that is mirage, and not actually or really embraced and practiced.

Mohammed Sulemana and Kingsford Gyasi Amakye

The concept of decentralisation has shaped development thinking in contemporary times in both developed and developing countries. Indeed, the demand for decentralisation is strong throughout the world because of its link to community development and improving the quality of life of mass of the people in the rural areas. Decentralisation is globally recognised as the way of ensuring community participation and local development. However, some authors argue that the purported benefits of decentralisation leading to community development are not as obvious as proponents of decentralisation suggest. In Africa, decentralisation is implemented in various forms by governments across the continent. Indeed, in West Africa, it is difficult to find a country that does not have decentralisation programme. In Ghana, decentralisation has been practiced since 1988 and the populace has come to embrace it as the best way of ensuring development and local participation in governance. Nevertheless, after nearly three decades of implementing decentralisation, which has generated rather elaborate structures and processes, Ghana still struggles to realise the expected developmental progress, or achieve the envisioned structural and procedural effectiveness. This paper explores the relationship between decentralisation and community development in Sekyere Central District. Again the paper seeks to find out the contributions decentralisation has brought to the communities in Sekyere Central District and finally investigate whether decentralisation is working as it should in the district. This paper was carried out using a mixed method approach. Purposive sampling technique was adopted to select all the assembly members in Sekyere Central District. Both primary and secondary data were collected from the relevant sources in an effort to meet the objectives of the study. The regression analysis of all the assembly members indicated that, the calculated value F is 28.25 at 5% alpha level of significant (0.000). It shows that there is significant relationship between decentralisation and community development.

National Face and Facework in China’s Foreign Policy

A Corpus-Assisted Case Study of Chinese Foreign Affairs Press Conferences

Maria Marakhovskaiia and Alan Partington

The Goffman (1967) and Brown and Levinson (1987) socio-pragmatic theory of face was first devised through speculating on and observing the interaction of individuals. Later research has looked at the phenomenon of group-face (e.g. Spencer-Oatey 2007). In this research we examine how face and facework theory can also be applied to communications made by state actors to the outside world, in other words, whether facework theories could also be applied to national face. To this end we compiled a corpus of all press conferences held by the Ministry of Chinese Foreign Affairs in 2016 and subjected it to quantitative and qualitative analysis, as well as comparative analysis with US White House press briefings. Chinese government statements were felt to be a promising genre partly because of the particularly intricate relations China has with its geographically close partners and neighbours and partly because of the supposed special importance accorded to face in Chinese culture (Kádár et al 2013; Chen and Hwang 2016). The techniques we employ in the analyses derive from the field of corpus-assisted discourse studies (Partington, Duguid and Taylor 2013).

Elsa Lafaye de Micheaux

The Chinese investments in South-East Asia can be considered as a vector of the People’s Republic of China’s assertion in the region. They are bound by political agreements and promote geopolitical as well as economic strategies. The present monographic study of the China’s contemporary investments in Malaysia under Najib Rakak’s prime ministership (2009–2018) underlines their particular character when compared to the previous investors: very concentrated and high amounts; located in the margins (East Coast of the Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia on Borneo). Breaking with the former logics of traditional investors (European, US then Japanese) who concentrated on the West Coast of the Peninsular Malaysia, the new sectors for Chinese investments in Malaysia are mainly in the metal industry, transport infrastructures and ports, as well as real estate. Clearly exhibiting a new pattern in terms of content, China’s investments in Malaysia could be considered as specific in motive and modus operandi. The focus on two case studies of industrial investments, namely the development of the Kuantan Industrial Park and Port (Pahang) and the exploitation of the Sokor Gold Mine (Kelantan) contribute modestly to the characterization of its original pattern and rationale from a political-economy perspective. It results in a re-contextualization of the industrial investments within in the diplomatic and political Malaysia-China bilateral relationship.

Pak Nung Wong

Why Iran Has Not Developed the Nuclear Weapons

Understanding the Role of Religion in Nuclear Policies of Iran

Modongal Shameer and Seyed Hossein Mousavian

Iran is a country with technological capability for nuclear fuel cycle. Mainstream theories of nuclear proliferation predict nuclear weaponization of Iran considering its structural, domestic and individual motivations. However, one fact remains that Iran has not yet developed its nuclear weapons. Officially, Iran argues that the Weapons of Mass Destruction, including nuclear weapons, are against principles of Islam. Even though the mainstream theories are sceptical about the influence of religion in security policies of the state, this paper concludes that religious principles have decisive role in nuclear decision-making of Iran. Iran would have gone for nuclear weapons unless it is constrained by religion.

Sangeeta Bagga-Gupta and Aprameya Rao

Drawing inspiration from two theoretical framings: a sociocultural perspective on languaging and writings on a decolonial-turn, the study presented in this paper center-stages issues related to the need to engage analytically with, (i) social actions of political parties, citizens, including netizens in Web 2.0 settings, and (ii) alternative epistemologies where issues from the global-South are privileged. A central concern of decolonial linguistics enables asking new questions that destabilize established Eurocentric models of language. Thus, peripherally framed sociocultural premises contribute to critical social-humanistic perspectives that allow for (potentially) unpacking northern hegemonies and contributing to global-North challenges. Building upon an analytical design, this paper presents cross-disciplinary analysis of languaging in contemporary political mediascapes of the nation-states of India and Sweden. Bringing to bear that language does not only mirror reality, but is also a constitutive culturaltool, the study aims to highlight the contrastive ways in which the dominating political parties and citizens engage with languaging (i.e. the deployment of semiotic resources across language-varieties, modalities, including imagery). The study unpacks similarities and differences in salient issues related to the nature of social media and language and identity-positions in political discourse, highlighting dimensions of the participants voices. Thus, patterns that emerge from the contrastive analysis of political discourses, including the features of social media are highlighted and discussed. Data includes social media pages of two political parties from both the nation-states across a 6-week period at the end of 2017.

Md. Jahangir Alam

This paper explores changing land values in the process of rapid urbanization in Dhaka, Bangladesh and its implications for urban land management and administration in the megacity. The study reveals that substantial increase in land values have resulted in land speculation among real estate and individual developers. Land values have increased by an average of 22.26% per year between 1990 and 2000, while the period spanning from 2000 to 2010 saw about 74% of yearly increase in Dhaka. The study revealed that due to increasing land values, prospective real estate developers are tempted to build housing in restricted areas defined by Dhaka metropolitan development plan such as flood zones, lakes, canals, ditch and drainage channels etc. The paper proposes a re-look at the causes of increase in land values and land speculations and the resulting environmental damage pointed out in this study as part of a broad urban land and environmental management strategy in rapidly growing megacities.