East Asia: Economic Miracles and Social Change


Postgraduate standing

This course intends to examine major theories of development through the lens of the experiences of various East Asian societies. The course has three major parts. The first focuses on the making of the so-called economic miracles. It will introduce the modernization perspective, world-system perspective, and theories on the developmental state by examining the empirical cases of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and China. The second part of the course focuses on the socioeconomic ramifications of the ‘economic miracles’. It will examine whether the East Asia societies are exemplary cases of ‘growth with equity’, mechanisms making for the domination and control of workers, varying capabilities of East Asian workers to engage in organized resistance, and the alleged emergence of the middle class. The third part focuses on the political dimension of East Asian development. It will evaluate the relative merit of competing theories for the transitions to democracy as well as examine factors underlying resilience of authoritarian rule in some cases.