Area Studies Must Be Decolonised

The discipline’s existence reflects an enduring Western belief in the inferiority of knowledge production specific to different cultures

By David Simon

If you thought that area studies sounded like an odd name for an odd discipline, you’d be right. Its genesis reflects an enduring tension within academia between supposedly systematic (“disciplinary”) and geographically specific knowledge production – deriving from particular histories of how universities evolved in Euro-America and its former imperial and colonial realms. Continue reading “Area Studies Must Be Decolonised”

Transforming the Production and Use of Knowledge as a Key to Sustainable Development

By Niko Schäpke and Ioan Fazey

To shift global development to a sustainable and resilient path, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the2030 Agenda call for far-reaching transformations. In this endeavor, the use and generation of knowledge has an important role to play in shaping the direction, form and distribution of development. This is why formalized knowledge systems such as universities, research institutes and education, must change in order to best support transformations to more sustainable societies. What kinds of changes are needed in these knowledge systems and how can they be encouraged? Continue reading “Transforming the Production and Use of Knowledge as a Key to Sustainable Development”

Why Does Climate Adaptation End Up Repeating, Rather Than Rethinking, Old Development Mistakes?

By Siri Eriksen, Marianne Mosberg, Benard Muok, Katharine Vincent, Lisa Schipper, Morgan Scoville-Simonds

Climate change requires rethinking development. Yet, in the (understandable) rush to support adaptation, this has taken place within the structures and process of existing development paradigms. As a consequence, similar to well-known critiques of the development architecture, many adaptation-interventions reproduce both the development problems and the skewed power relations that have contributed to vulnerability in the first place. Continue reading “Why Does Climate Adaptation End Up Repeating, Rather Than Rethinking, Old Development Mistakes?”

Why Has the Agadir Agreement Failed?

By Christos Kourtelis

Signed in Rabat, Morocco on February 25th 2004, the Agadir Agreement (AA) is a Free Trade Agreement between Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan with the aim of coordinating sectoral policies and approximating legislation to better foster intraregional trade. However, when re-evaluating the performance of the agreement, it becomes clear that it has neither succeeded in fostering regional integration, nor in overcoming the structural weaknesses of Arab-Mediterranean economies.  Continue reading “Why Has the Agadir Agreement Failed?”

COVID-19 and the Economic Stories of our Time

By Simon Mair

What is the economy? Speaking to the NGO Our Economy, one interviewee described the economy as “a giant blob or mass that feels like it has its own consciousness.” In popular and academic discussion of the economy it can seem like we’re talking about a child or pet that we have to nurture. The economy is often portrayed as self-aware entity, something separate from but dependent on us. What will happen to “the economy” because of the coronavirus? Have we “sacrificed” the economy to save lives? Continue reading “COVID-19 and the Economic Stories of our Time”