Re-nationalizing economic geography: National capitalism(s) beyond the territorial trap

Type: Virtual Paper
Sponsor Groups:
Poster #:
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM (PST)
Room: Virtual 23
Organizers: Brandon Hillier, Chris Meulbroek
Chairs: Chris Meulbroek

Call for Submissions

We are interested in paper presenters engaging with the ‘nation’, broadly conceived, with a particular emphasis on theoretical, methodological and empirical interventions that situate and spatialize the nation-state in economic geography.

This session will consist of five paper presentations (15 minutes each). If you are interested in participating, please send an abstract of no more than 250 words and your AAG Personal Identification Number to both session organizers (listed below) by November 25, 2020. Please indicate if your participation is in-person or virtual.

Organized by:
Chris Meulbroek, University of British Columbia -
Brandon Hillier, University of British Columbia -


This paper session considers the methodological, theoretical and empirical status of the ‘nation’ in economic geography. Economic nationalism and the supposed spectre of ‘deglobalization’ in popular discourse has brought the nation-state back into sharp relief, with reverberations in comparative and international political economy (Alami & Dixon, 2020a; 2020b; Milanovic, 2019). Economic geography, in its ongoing efforts to avoid the ‘territorial trap’ and methodological nationalism (Agnew, 1994), has focused on local, urban, and regional (more-than) capitalist formations, often situated in relation to global processes, while bypassing the ‘national’ as an analytical scale. Recent calls for a more explicit engagement with macro-level theorization of uneven development, interdependency and globalized restructuring, however, call into question the relation between nation-states, national capitalisms and global processes (Sheppard, 2016; Peck, 2016; Werner, 2019).

New research suggests the ongoing vitality of the ‘national’ as a site for theorizing capitalist variegation (Dales et al., 2018; Kenney-Lazar & Mark, 2020), industrial transformation (Hsu, 2017) and agrarian transitions (Berndt et al., 2020), though theoretical interrogation of the national—as a scale of analysis, material formation and imagined unity (Goswami, 2004)—and its specificity remain somewhat elusive. Heeding Dunford (2016) and Hudson’s (2016, p. 282) charge that “globalization theorists in the 1990s tended to exaggerate the extent to which the capacity of national states had been eroded as a result of the increasing interconnectedness of economic and political relations”, this paper session re-establishes links between previous research centred on the nation while gesturing toward new currents via:

Uneven (and combined) development, and national capitalist formations; Variegated capitalism within and among nation-states; National economic imaginaries and hegemonic projects; ‘New state capitalism’ and the nation-state; ‘Deglobalization’ (Brexit, trade wars, COVID-19), and its (national) dis/contents; Economic nationalism in theory and practice; Historical geographies of national markets and developmental nationalism; Ideologies, policies, practices of national growth, dysfunction and decline; and the relationship between the nation(-state) and nature.

Agnew, J. (1994). The territorial trap: The geographical assumptions of international relations theory. Review of International Political Economy, 1(1), 53-80.
Alami, I., & Dixon, A. D. (2020a). State capitalism(s) redux? Theories, tensions, controversies. Competition & Change, 24(1), 70-94.
Alami, I., & Dixon, A. D. (2020b). The strange geographies of the ‘new’ state capitalism. Political Geography, 82, 102237.
Berndt, C., Werner, M., & Fernández, V. R. (2020). Postneoliberalism as institutional recalibration: Reading Polanyi through Argentina’s soy boom. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 52(1), 216-236.
Dales, A., Coe, N. M., & Hess, M. (2019). Variegated national retail markets: Negotiating transformation through regulation in Malaysia and Thailand. Economic Geography, 95(1), 90-111.
Dunford, M. (2016). Uneven and combined development [unpublished manuscript]. Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Goswami, M. (2004). Producing India: from colonial economy to national space. University of Chicago Press.
Hsu, J. Y. (2017). State transformation and the evolution of economic nationalism in the East Asian developmental state: the Taiwanese semiconductor industry as case study. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 42(2), 166-178.
Hudson, R. (2016). Rising powers and the drivers of uneven global development. Area Development and Policy, 1(1), 279-294.
Kenney-Lazar, M., & Mark, S. (2020). Variegated transitions: Emerging forms of land and resource capitalism in Laos and Myanmar. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 0308518X20948524.
Milanovic, B. (2019). Capitalism, alone: The future of the system that rules the world. Harvard University Press.
Peck, J. (2016). Macroeconomic geographies. Area Development and Policy, 1(3), 305–322.
Sheppard, E. (2016). Limits to globalization: Disruptive geographies of capitalist development. Oxford University Press.
Werner, M. (2019). Geographies of production I: Global production and uneven development. Progress in Human Geography, 43(5), 948-958.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Max Cohen*, University of British Columbia, Refiguring Capitalism in a Stateless Nation 15 9:35 AM
Presenter Pasternak Shiri*, , Canada is a bad company 15 9:50 AM
Presenter Brandon Hillier*, University of British Columbia, Japanification 2.0? The Japanese economic model (slight return) 15 10:05 AM
Presenter Chris Meulbroek*, University of British Columbia, Gillian Hart in Beijing: Negotiating capitalist models at the World Bank/China nexus 15 10:20 AM
Presenter Rosemary-Claire Collard*, Simon Fraser University, Jessica Dempsey*, University of British Columbia, Emilie Cameron, Carleton University, Conjuring the state 15 10:35 AM

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