The William L. Holland Prize is awarded annually for an outstanding article published in Pacific Affairs during the preceding year that, in the opinion of the Editorial Board, best reflects the ideals of long-time editor Bill Holland in promoting international understanding of the spaces, practices, and peoples of Asia and the Pacific. We look for articles based on strong empirical research, preferably displaying a full awareness of local conditions, languages, and sources; argumentation that engages with a range of theoretical and comparative literature, and contains clear potential for cross-disciplinary appeal; and writing that is clear and cogent and appealing to specialists and generalists alike.
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Pacific Affairs is pleased to announce that the fifteenth William L. Holland Prize for the best article published in Volume 90 (2017) of Pacific Affairs has been awarded to Kearrin Sims for his article published in Volume 90, No. 4 (December 2017)
Gambling on the Future: Casino Enclaves, Development, and Poverty Alleviation in Laos
Kearrin Sims, James Cook University, Cairns, Australia
What happens on the ground when states use casinos to anchor large-scale “development” plans? And what are the transnational and conceptual implications of these outcomes? The article addresses these questions though a compelling combination of rich empirical research, clear writing, and deft use of theoretical and comparative literature to explore the multifaceted drives and outcomes surrounding two casinos in northern Laos. Sims shows how “particularities of place” – proximity to China, Vientiane’s aspirations to consolidate control over border regions and the ethnic minority communities living there, and the local yet transnational imbrications of histories, mobilities, and economies of the Golden Triangle region – engendered these projects. The casinos in turn have propagated “logics of expulsion” that privilege elite interests while severely exacerbating impoverishment, displacement, and marginalization for local communities. In doing so, the article shows the importance of site-based, intensive fieldwork in informing and amplifying more generalized critiques of top-down development.
Kearrin Sims is a lecturer in Development Studies at James Cook University, Cairns, Australia. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org