Dr Jamie Doucette

Senior Lecturer in Human Geography

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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


Sept 2020 [delayed due to Covid-19 pandemic]


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…


Research and projects

No current projects are available for public display