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Development studies meet Pierre Bourdieu: the case of Chinese Private FDI in Zambia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 February 2024

Andrzej Polus*
Affiliation:
Institute of International Studies, University of Wroclaw, Wroclaw, Koszarowa 3, Poland
Hangwei Li*
Affiliation:
The German Institute of Development and Sustainability, Tulpenfeld 6, Bonn 53113, Germany

Abstract

Inspired by Bourdieu's field theory and utilising the case of Zambia, this article aims to enhance the understanding of the intricate relationship between Chinese private investors and sub-Saharan state institutions. The study proposes an epistemological framework that integrates sociological, anthropological and neo-institutional approaches to development studies. Through extensive fieldwork and over 75 interviews with both Chinese and Zambian stakeholders, we explore various contexts in which group-actors related to foreign capital in Zambia operate. We argue that three separate habiti – inhabited by the Zambian political class, Chinese investors and ‘ordinary’ Zambians – are crucial for comprehending private foreign capital operations in this sub-Saharan state. The ordinary Zambians and Zambian political class fields converge primarily during elections, while interactions between ordinary Zambians and Chinese investors have remained very limited (predominantly employee–employer relations), creating an ideational structure of hostility. In contrast, the Zambian political class and Chinese private investor fields crosscut and are mutually constitutive.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2024. Published by Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

Corresponding author: Hangwei Li.

This research was funded by the National Science Centre, Poland, under grant number UMO-2017/26/M/HS4/00150. We are very grateful to the late Professor Ian Taylor for his invaluable contributions and inspiration during our collaborative field research in 2019. His wisdom and knowledge have been a constant source of motivation. We also appreciate Dominik Kopiński and Muna Ndulo for their insights, and the reviewers and editors for their constructive feedback on the manuscript.

References

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Fessehaie, J. 2012. ‘What determines the breadth and depth of Zambia's backward linkages to copper mining? The role of public policy and value chain dynamics’, Resources Policy 37, 4: 443–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fessehaie, J. & Morris, M.. 2013. ‘Value chain dynamics of Chinese copper mining in Zambia: enclave or linkage development?’, The European Journal of Development Research 25: 537–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Haglund, D. 2008. ‘Regulating FDI in weak African states: a case study of Chinese copper mining in Zambia’, Journal of Modern African Studies 46, 4: 547–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jeppesen, S. & Kragelund, P.. 2021. ‘Beyond “Africa rising”: development policies and domestic market formation in Zambia’, Forum for Development Studies 48, 3: 593612.Google Scholar
Kinda, T. 2010. ‘Investment climate and FDI in developing countries: firm-level evidence’, World Development 38, 4: 498513.Google Scholar
Kopiński, D. & Polus, A.. 2011. ‘Sino-Zambian relations: “an all-weather friendship” weathering the storm’, Journal of Contemporary African Studies 29, 2: 181–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kragelund, P. 2012. ‘Bringing “indigenous” ownership back: Chinese presence and the citizen economic empowerment commission in Zambia’, The Journal of Modern African Studies 50, 3: 447–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Leander, A. 2011. ‘The promises, problems, and potentials of a Bourdieu-inspired staging of international relations’, International Political Sociology 5, 3: 294313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Li, H. & Shi, X.. 2020. ‘Home away from home: the social and political roles of contemporary Chinese associations in Zambia’, Journal of Current Chinese Affairs 48, 2: 148–70.Google Scholar
Li, H., Kopiński, D. & Taylor, I.. 2022. ‘China and the troubled prospects for Africa's economic take-off: linkage formation and spillover effects in Zambia’, Journal of Southern African Studies 48, 5: 861–82.Google Scholar
Mihalyi, D. & Trebesch, C.. 2022. ‘Who lends to Africa and how? Introducing the Africa debt database.’ Kiel Working Paper. No. 2217, <https://www.ifw-kiel.de/fileadmin/Dateiverwaltung/IfW-Publications/-ifw/Kiel_Working_Paper/2022/KWP_2217_Who_Lends_to_Africa_and_How_/KWP_2217_First_Version.pdf>..>Google Scholar
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Polus, A., Kopiński, D. & Tycholiz, W.. 2020. ‘Reproduction and convertibility: examining wealth inequalities in South Africa’, Third World Quarterly 42, 2: 292311.Google Scholar
Postel, H. 2017. ‘Moving beyond “China in Africa”: insights from Zambian immigration data’, Journal of Current Chinese Affairs 46, 2: 155–74.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Sáez, L. & Gallagher, J.. 2008. ‘Authoritarianism and development in the Third World’, The Brown Journal of World Affairs 15: 87101.Google Scholar
Schmitz, H. 2007. ‘Reducing complexity in the Industrial Policy Debate’, Development Policy Review 25, 4: 417–28.Google Scholar
Scott, R.W. 2010. ‘Reflections: the past and future of research on institutions and institutional change’, Journal of Change Management 10, 1: 521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shan, S., Lin, Z., Li, Y. & Zeng, Y.. 2018. ‘Attracting Chinese FDI in Africa: the role of natural resources, market size and institutional quality’, Critical Perspectives on International Business 14, 2/3: 139–53.Google Scholar
Szeftel, M. 2000. ‘“Eat with us”: managing corruption and patronage under Zambia's three republics, 1964–99’, Journal of Contemporary African Studies 18, 2: 207–24.Google Scholar
Taylor, S.D. 2006. ‘Divergent politico-legal responses to past presidential corruption in Zambia and Kenya: catching the “big fish”, or letting him off the hook?’, Third World Quarterly 27, 2: 281301.Google Scholar
van Donge, J.K. 2008. ‘The plundering of Zambian resources by Frederick Chiluba and his friends: a case study of the interaction between national politics and the international drive towards good governance’, African Affairs 108, 430: 6990.Google Scholar
Vhumbunu, C.H. 2017. ‘Reforming investment regimes for sustainable China-Africa industrial capacity cooperation: experiences from selected cases in Southern Africa’, Quarterly Journal of Chinese Studies 5, 1: 2556.Google Scholar
Wacquant, L. 2018. ‘Four transversal principles for putting Bourdieu to work’, Anthropological Theory 18, 1: 317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR). 2019. ‘China-Zambia Relations vis-à-vis Trade & Investment’, ZIPAR 25th January, 2019, <http://www.zipar.org.zm/research/our-publications?filter%5Bsearch%5D=China+FDI&filter%5Bcategory%5D=&filter%5Bcategory%5D=>..>Google Scholar
Interview with a manager from ZamGreat Mining, 15.03. 2017. Kitwe.Google Scholar
Interview with former official from the Ministry of Works and Supply, 23.07. 2017, Lusaka.Google Scholar
Interview with officials from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, 10.07.2017, Lusaka.Google Scholar
Interview with multiple respondents from Bank of Zambia, 07.05.2019, Lusaka.Google Scholar
Interview (held via WeChat) with the Official from China's Economic and Commercial Counsellor's Office in Zambia, 26. 12. 2021,WeChat.Google Scholar
Interview Kanenga Haggai, Lecturer, University of Zambia, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Development Studies, 30.04.2019, Lusaka.Google Scholar
Interview with a Chinese procurement manager from Chinese manufacturing company in Zambia (anonymised), 02.05.2019, Lusaka.Google Scholar
Interview with a managing director of a Chinese company in Lusaka (anonymised), 05.05.2019, Lusaka.Google Scholar
Interview with a managing director of a mining company (anonymised), 03.05. 2019, Lusaka.Google Scholar
Interview with a senior Chinese manager from a Chinese mining company in Zambia (anonymised), 30.04. 2019, Lusaka.Google Scholar
Interview with Charles Mafa, freelance journalist, 09.05 2019, Lusaka.Google Scholar
Interview with Managing Director of Yasun Investment, Interview 01.05. 2019, Lusaka.Google Scholar
Interview with Manchishi Shimukuku (associate Researcher), Phiri Mwanda (research fellow), Nakamba–Kabso Pamela (director), 08 May 2019. Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis (ZIPAR), Lusaka.Google Scholar
Interview with Ndulo Manenga, Professor of University of Zambia, Marja Hinfelaar (dr SAIPAR Director), 28.04. 2019, Lusaka.Google Scholar
Interview with Joyce Nonde-Simukoko, the then Minister of Labour, 07.05. 2019, Lusaka.Google Scholar
Interview with Michael Sata, former President of the Republic of Zambia, 29 September 2010, Lusaka.Google Scholar
Interview with Sikazwe, Chomba Freedom (Minister of Presidential Affairs at State House), 03.05.2019, Lusaka;Google Scholar
Interview with White Fathers, Missionaries of Africa (multiple interviews), April/May 2019, Lusaka.Google Scholar
Interview with representatives and researchers from the Zambia Development Agency, May 2019, Lusaka.Google Scholar
Interview with various Chinese entrepreneurs, Lusaka, Ndola, Kitwe, Chambisi, 2017 and 2019.Google Scholar
Interviews with officials from the Zambian Immigration Agency, 05.04.2023, phone.Google Scholar
Interview with an official from the Ministry of Finance and National Planning, 03.04. 2023, Zoom.Google Scholar
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