Remodeling the Global Development Landscape: The China Model and South-South Cooperation in Latin America

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Third World Quarterly


Sociology & Anthropology


China's explosive growth and growing international influence have prompted policy makers and scholars to question how that country will reshape the global development landscape. While Western observers have used the concept of the China Model to describe China's development strategies and the potential threat they pose to Western liberal traditions, Chinese policy makers have promoted South–South cooperation to emphasise China's goal of a harmonious world order based on nation-state sovereignty and mutual benefits. This article explores these two competing organising principles with a focus on how each concept frames global development politics and China's relations with its development partners. Drawing on ethnographic research on China's new relationship with Costa Rica, I examine the assumptions and effects of these concepts in terms of how they shape specific development encounters. These examples suggest the intransigence of historical development inequalities and identities, which both support and limit China's global impact in significant ways.