Antonella Diana is a Marie Curie Fellow at Sassari University. Her research interests include border governing, ethnicity, and the socio-economic effects of Chinese transnational investment, migration, and trade in mainland Southeast Asia.

Liquid Labourscape: Ad Hoc Experimentation in a Chinese Special Economic Zone in Laos

Chinese-established special economic zones in Laos have been criticised as being sites of neoliberal exception, sustained by a Chinese logic of self-entrepreneurship and self-determination—or a soft version of colonial-era extraterritoriality. This essay argues that such areas are, in fact, a frontier space of post-socialist ad hoc experimentation, within which the Lao state haphazardly tests new socioeconomic and governing mechanisms under authoritarian rule in order to produce revenue and perpetuate its power over Lao citizens and territory.

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