Research topic: Asia
The world’s largest and most populous continent is now all set to become the new driver of the global economy.
Economic growth with increasing inequality
Asia is home to unparalleled rates of economic growth and prosperity that have lifted millions of people out of poverty over the last decades. New avenues for social mobility and change have opened up in Asia’s emerging economies, and the growing middle classes in India and China in particular aspire to new lifestyles and patterns of consumption that both mirror and depart from those in the West. Yet the political economy of development in Asia produces both winners and losers. India alone is still home to more than a third of the world’s poor, and inequalities across the rural – urban divide are on the increase in many countries, not least in China. Economic expansion is accompanied by new forms of marginalisation, dispossession and vulnerability across the continent, even as the benefits of growth and development are extended beyond the charmed circle of national elites to include more population groups than before. And unequal gender structures persist in more or less undiluted form amidst increasing flows of culture, images and capital that speak of mobility and flexibility.
SUMs research on Asia
The research strategically locates itself at the intersection of the political, economic and social dynamics of development. Our research covers topics that address the core issues of contemporary development challenges and dilemmas as they are confronted and played out in various Asian contexts and under different regime types. These include rural – urban conflict; gender and inequality; consumption and class formation; democracy and development; poverty and vulnerability; and the local politics of development.