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Professor James Putzel

putzel-j-113x148Professor of Development Studies

  • Department of International Development (ID) 
  • Government Department
  • Asia Research Centre


James Putzel is Professor of Development Studies and, since October 2000, Director of the Crisis States Research Centre . He heads the Centre's research programme on Crisis States, which is funded by the Department for International Development of the UK government. From 1996 to 1999, Professor Putzel was a member of the British Academy's Southeast Asia Committee, a Managing Editor of the Journal of Development Studies from September 1999 until January 2001 and remains a member of the editorial board. He was a member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Latin American Studies of the University of London between 1999 and 2002. Professor  Putzel was Director of D (previously the Development Studies Institute) from January 1999 until August 2001. Before that, he directed the Institute's PhD programme.

Professor Putzel is most well-known for his book, A Captive Land: the Politics of Agrarian Reform in the Philippines (1992). In 1999, he won the Dudley Seers annual prize for his article, 'The Business of Aid: Transparency and Accountability in European Union Development Assistance" (Journal of Development Studies, vol.34). His article, "Accounting for the Dark Side of Social Capital" (Journal of International Development, vol. 9) has had a significant impact on recent development debates, as has his co-authored paper with Mick Moore, 'Thinking Strategically About Politics and Poverty' (IDS, 2000). His recent research and publications range from work on the politics of financial crisis, to work on nationalism, comparative politics of development in Southeast and East Asia, democratic transition, developmental states, and the role of foreign aid and NGOs in development, with a particular focus on problems of institutional change. His current research is focusing on politics and governance in crisis states including work on Understanding 'Failed States', Political Islam in Southeast Asia and the Politics of the HIV/AIDS crisis.

Professor  Putzel received his BA in Honours East Asian Studies and MA in Political Science from McGill University. He received his DPhil in Politics from the University of Oxford. In the late 1980s he was a Visiting Senior Lecturer in Political Science and a Visiting Research Associate at the School of Economics at the University of the Philippines. He has extensive experience in consultancy work for development oriented non-governmental, government and multilateral development organisations.

Research interests and area of supervision

  • Politics and governance in states under stress
  • Politics of post-war reconstruction
  • Politics of HIV/AIDS in the developing world
  • Political economy of agrarian reform
  • Politics and development in Southeast Asia

Selected recent publications

  • Putzel, James, 'The politics of action on AIDS: a case study of Uganda', Public Administration and Development, vol.24, no.1 (February 2004), pp19-30
  • Putzel, James, 'The Philippine-US Alliance in post September 11 Southeast Asia' in Mary Buckley and Rick Fawn, eds, Global Responses to Terrorism: 9/11, Afghanistan and Beyond (Routledge, 2003).
  • Putzel, James, 'Developmental States and Crony Capitalists', in Pietro Massina, ed, Rethinking development in East Asia: from Illusory Miracle to Economic Crisis (Curzon Press, 2002), pp189-222.
  • Putzel, James, 'The Politics of Partial Reform in the Philippines', in V K Ramachandran and Madhura Swaminathan, Agrarian Studies: Essays on Agrarian Relations in Less-Developed Countries (Kolkata: Tulika, 2002), pp 204-212.
  • Putzel, James, 'Social Capital and the Imagined Community: Democracy and Nationalism in the Philippines', Asian Nationalism, ed., M Leifer (London: Routledge, 2000)
  • Putzel, James, 'The Survival of an Imperfect Democracy in the Philippines' Democratization, Vol. 6 No. 1, (Spring 1999), pp198-223. Republished twice: in Peter Burnell and Peter Calvert, eds, The Resilience of Democracy: Persistent Practice, Durable Idea (London: Frank Cass, 1999) and in Peter W Preston, ed, Political Change in East Asia, in the International Library of Social Change in Asia Pacific series (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2003).
  • Putzel, James, H Morales et al (eds). Power in the Village: Agrarian Reform, Rural Politics, Institutional Change and Globalisation. Putzel, James; Jr, (University of Philippines Press, 2002).

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