Professor of International Development Studies, Director Rotary Peace Centre, University of Bradford
This lecture builds on the political economy concept of “knowledge” as a site of contestation intimately connected to the operation of power. For upper middle income countries, transition to a knowledge economy has been touted by economists as essential for the maintenance of economic growth and prosperity. Authoritarian governments are selectively co-opting radical and neoliberal modes of thinking about knowledge production to legitimize political and social orders, discipline potential regime critics, and fire middle class imaginations. The lecture will explore the effectiveness of knowledge economy aspirations in disarming critics, channeling societal aspirations into particular types of socio-economic activity, and defusing demands for political change in Iran, Turkey, and Hong Kong.