Nation states and networks of flows: the role of the state in Jordan's ICT enabled development

25 Oct 2007

This paper argues that Information and Communications Technology enabled development needs to be conceptualised within a dialectic process of globalisation where, on the one hand, the flow of capital, commodities and information are expanding and accelerating while, on the other, nation states are essential components in providing the infrastructures for production, regulation and consumption of these flows.

For countries with developmental strategies, this has led to the emergence of developmental network states where a networked polity of private public agencies are central to glocal processes linking the global movement of capital, commodities and information with local circuits of capital, labour and infrastructure. Institutions of a developmental network state have to negotiate a series of dilemmas centred on over-autonomy vs. over-embeddedness on the one hand and the capability to sustain and develop through time and space. These concepts enable an analysis of the role of states engaged in ICT enabled developments and require a network based approach based on multi scalar analysis. Jordan and REACH, its programme of ICT enabled change, are analysed. Jordan is shown to be a recent developmental network state with REACH being paradoxically over-embedded and over-autonomous indicative of the difficulties for a post colonial country in creating a network polity. The mediation of glocal processes in REACH show how important a variety of non market mechanisms are to the working of ICT enabled development and their absence can help explain early problems with REACH failing to achieve its targets for ICT Foreign Direct Investment.

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