• Workshop

Beyond the State's Reach: Casino Spaces as Enclaves of Development or Lawlessness?


Friday, 21 August 2015 to Sunday, 23 August 2015


Center for Khmer Studies


Center for Khmer Studies
Wat Damnak
Siem Reap

Workshop dates: 21-22 August 2015
Day-Field Trip: 23 August 

Beyond the State’s Reach: Casino Spaces as Enclaves of Development or Lawlessness? is the second phase of the IIAS/Mellon Foundation Forum Asian Spatialities 3: Across Southeast Asian Borderlands which aims at studying Southeast Asia based on networks, processes, transitions, polyvalence, and fluidity, in opposition to the concepts of the “nation-state” or the “region”. This workshop seeks to better understand the “transitional zones” that have emerged in the wake of the encounter between local communities, new migratory circulations and the global economy. The multiplication of mega casino resorts in Asia is emblematic of these new spaces created across local and global scales. Over the past few years, the belief has taken root that the gaming industry is a powerful tool for economic development. The gaming revenue generated in the two most lucrative gaming markets in the world, Macau and Singapore, has prompted neighboring countries to follow suit. A number of casinos have mushroomed along the borders of Southeast Asian countries. These casino projects have been incorporated into the national leisure economy as part of global city branding, or to attract foreign investments for local development and modernization.

Objectives of the workshop:

The workshop aims to bring together scholars from different fields and theoretical approaches to interrogates the immediate and long-term socio-political impacts of casino-oriented development in Singapore, Macau, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia, where migration, employment, economic aspiration and social cohesion have been issues of contention. Themes that will be discussed in the workshop revolve around the following:

  • Governing the Gambling Industry in Southeast Asia, China, and Beyond. Contributors will look into the newly opened integrated casino resorts as exceptional sites of mobility and interconnectivity. They will examine the complex linkages between transnational mobilities of laborers and consumers and the transforming regulatory regime that evolves with the emergence of a casino economy.
  • The “Asian Casino Space”: an Alternative Model for Development? Discussions will take on historical, urban planning, and political economy perspectives to develop conceptual lens of apprehending the contemporary “casino space”. By comparing Asian casino developments with the existing casino industries in the West, we will interrogate whether the new casino space in Asia represents an alternative model for development.
  • Blurring Boundaries: the Legal Grey Area of Casino-Oriented Development and its Ethical Implications. We will investigate the blurring boundaries between legal and illegal practices as well as the moral dilemmas and ethical implications inherent in the development of a casino economy.

This two-day workshop will not only be an opportunity to share our respective work, but also to brainstorm and to open critical dialogue on the new contours of Southeast Asian studies. Hence, a roundtable on reshaping Asian studies will close the workshop. Drawing on the previous discussions but also from each participant’s experiences, this roundtable will identify new methodological trends, new pedagogical formats, and new ways to engage, beyond disciplinary and sectorial boundaries in a truly trans-regional, multifaceted fashion. Our conclusions will contribute to the framing of a future research, educational and networking programme capable of putting into practice some of the alternative pedagogical ideas explored in the present platform.


This workshop is organized by the Casino and Development in Asia Research Network, gathering together the University of Macau, the National University of Singapore (ARI), Institut d’Asie Orientale (IAO-ENS Lyon, France) and IIAS, and whose objective is to investigate the nexus between “Casino and Development” in Southeast Asia, China and beyond.

The workshop will take place at the Center for Khmer Studies in Siem Reap, Cambodia on 21-22 August 2015. The organizers will provide hotel accommodation for three nights and will reimburse travel expenses.


For enquiries about the workshop, please contact:
Titia van der Maas
Programme Coordinator
Phone: +31 (0)71 527 4728

E-mail: t.van.der.maas@iias.nl