Alice Amsden Book Award Winner


The winner of the inaugural Alice Amsden Book Award of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics is The Specter of Global China: Politics, Labor, and Foreign Investment in Africa, by Ching Kwan Lee, Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Explaining its decision, the Book Award Committee wrote:

“Ching Kwan Lee’s book is an impressive theoretical and empirical achievement in socio-economics.  Rooted in six years of ethnographic study of copper mines and construction sites in Zambia, Lee presents a compelling case for “varieties of global capital”, distinguishing between Chinese state capital and global private capital in terms of business objectives, labor practices, management ethos, and political engagement with Zambia.  The result is a nuanced understanding of Chinese investment in Africa, that goes beyond a simplistic image conveyed in the media.  Lee’s account is highly readable, empathetic with real voices of people she encountered, and wonderfully reflexive throughout and in her appendix titled ‘an ethnographer’s odyssey’.  With wide-ranging policy implications for economic development, this scholarly work represents the very best of comparative sociology and ethnography.”

The Alice Amsden Book Award will be given annually for the best book that breaks new ground in the study of economic behavior and/or its policy implications with regard to societal, institutional, historical, philosophical, psychological, and ethical factors. The prize comes with an award of $2,000.

The inaugural Book Award Committee was composed of: Mari Sako (chair), Wolfgang Streeck, and Jonathan Zeitlin.

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