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High-tech utopianism: Chinese and Indian science parks in the neo-liberal turn

  • DIGANTA DAS (a1) and TONG LAM (a2)


Science park developments have become ubiquitous in China and India in recent decades as both countries integrate further into the global economy. These exclusive high-tech spaces prioritize the partnership between industry, research and the government as a desirable mode of urbanization, economic growth and knowledge production. Contrary to the older form of industrial zone associated with big science and big industry for national mobilization during the Cold War, contemporary science parks constitute a network of global spaces that are designed to facilitate the circulation of technology, personnel and capital in the neo-liberal world. Similarly, science parks are closely linked to innovation, entrepreneurship and social exclusion rather than the collective social betterment. As utopian machines for the privileged, these exclusive spaces are about consumption, desire, hedging and speculation as much as about science, research and production.

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1 In this paper, the word ‘knowledge’ is used to largely denote production, circulation and consumption of services related to the contemporary tertiary economy, largely dominated by software development and management, data-driven R & D, and analysis of software information.

2 ‘Neo-liberal’ and ‘neo-liberalism’ refer to a belief that argues for a society organized around self-regulating free markets without any state intervention. In this paper, the terms ‘neo-liberal’ and ‘neo-liberalism’ are used to denote, on the one hand, increasing state entrepreneurialism in both China and India in order to attract capital, and, on the other, increasing privatization and deregulation of the economy.

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The authors would like to thank the editor John Agar for his support and constructive comments and the referees for their suggestions to improve the paper. We would also like to acknowledge the funding for this research from the NIE AcRF Grant (project no RI 7/14 DKD).


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