Neoliberalising Cambodia: The Production of Capacity in Southeast Asia

Jonathon Louth

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Abstract: The current Cambodian experience of re-integration into the regional and global economies reveals a process of violent neoliberal accumulation. Under the guise of clean, frictionless neoclassical economics, neoliberalism has reformulated the role of state and society. This article examines how notions of ‘capacity’ or ‘capacity-building’ reflect a commitment to this understanding of economic systems. Market building and deepening, which involve the expansion and regulation of ‘capacities’, are intrinsically tied to this commitment. It is argued that technocratic, administrative, and pseudo-scientific discursive acts are central to the production and reproduction of neoliberal agendas. This is evidenced by the complicit role of international financial institutions, the Cambodian state, civil society groups, and governance structures more generally. Yet the ever-deepening roll-out of neoliberalism in Cambodia is far from complete. What is evident is that this unique proto-regulatory environment reveals the poverty that surrounds the call to increase or develop ‘capacity’. Importantly, the article concludes that the whole process of producing space and capacity is not a neat and linear set of affairs. The world of abstractions and dominant discursive acts cannot completely subsume the lived experience of the everyday.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)400-419
    Number of pages20
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2015


    • capacity
    • everyday lives
    • Lefebvre
    • neoliberalism
    • space


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