Internationalising Infrastructural Power?

Stream: Panel 65 - International Relations: Global Political Economy 
Date: Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Time: 9.00 am – 10.30 am


The concept of infrastructural power (IP) is arguably one of the most useful in the social and political sciences, helping to illuminate the extraordinary capacities of the modern state, and to explain why some states appear more able than others to execute their decisions and pursue their ambitions. Since its first articulation by Michael Mann in 1983, the IP concept has been adapted and applied by many scholars to examine how states across time and space have sought to penetrate and shape the societies over which they rule. To this point however, possibilities for the internationalisation of infrastructural power have been under-explored. By what means and with what effectiveness have some states sought to penetrate other societies in order to reshape institutions and extract resources for their own national economic or political ends? In this paper, we take some tentative first steps towards examining the internationalisation of infrastructural power, focussing on the policy sphere of intellectual property. To understand recent developments in this arena, we examine the efforts of two key states, the US and UK, to extend their infrastructural power into foreign jurisdictions.


Linda Weiss (Presenter), University of Sydney
Linda Weiss is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, Professor Emeritus in Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney, and Honorary Professor of Political Science at Aarhus University, Denmark. Her specialism is the comparative and international politics of economic development, with a focus on state capacity and public-private sector relations. Several of her books and articles have been translated into seven languages. Her latest book, America Inc? Innovation and Enterprise in the National Security State (2014, Cornell UP), examines the political economy of national security from the Cold War to the present.

Elizabeth Thurbon (Presenter), UNSW Australia
Elizabeth Thurbon is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the School of Social Sciences, UNSW Australia. Her most significant contributions to the field examine the rise and transformation of Northeast Asia’s developmental states, and the relationship between international trade and financial integration and the pursuit of transformative economic and social goals in Australia and the region. Her most recent publications include Developmental Mindset: Revival of Financial Activism in South Korea (2016, Cornell University Press), and a 2015 Special Issue of the Australian Journal of International Affairs on the topic: Ten Years After the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement.