Illiberal capitalist development: Chinese state-owned capital investment in Serbia

Rogers, Samuel (2022). Illiberal capitalist development: Chinese state-owned capital investment in Serbia. Contemporary Politics, 28(3) pp. 347–364.



State-owned capital investment into so-called illiberal democracies in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) has risen to become a more significant feature of CEE political economies, although knowledge of the impact of such transnational flows on illiberal capitalist development remains limited. This article analyses this form of capitalist relation by contributing to and consequently fusing two strands of burgeoning academic literature: (1) the political economy of illiberalism and (2) state capitalism. The result is an expansion of the purview of each: the former by focusing on CEE illiberalism’s external (state) capitalist dimensions; the latter via an upgrading of the rigour of the term ‘state capitalism’ through analysis of ‘new territorialities’. Empirically, I use a Case Study Analysis of Chinese state-owned capital investment into Serbia with focus on two Sino-Serbian agreements and identify two issues that may come to characterise the broader relationship between CEE illiberalism and Chinese state-owned capital investment.

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