Radical Alternatives or Ambivalent Engagements? Development Understandings from the Global South

By Alba Castellsagué and Sally Matthews / New Rhythms of Development blog series

Critiques of development have historically problematised the dominant models of economic growth and the controversial ideas of modernity and progress. Since the sixties, many have attempted to advance more sustainable understandings of development, with proposals emerging from a wide range of approaches: human capabilities, ecological sustainability, gender justice, and decoloniality, among many others.

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Development in crisis: some reflections

By Christiane Kliemann

The accelerating frequency, interconnectedness and mutually reinforcing nature of contemporary crises call for holistic responses and a focus on synergies and potential discrepancies between various fields of action. What has Development Studies to offer here? Will it be able to prove that is truly inter- and transdisciplinary and contribute to the understanding of policy and governance challenges in the Global South in the face of multiple crises? Will it identify the possible levers for policy action and their potential impact for the most marginalised, also in the long term?

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Rethinking work for sustainability and justice

By Erik Gomez-Baggethun

Work time reduction is one of the central policy proposals brought forward by ecological economists and degrowth scholars to reduce environmental pressure and unemployment and enhance human well-being. In its broader meaning, work is defined as an activity involving mental or physical effort done to achieve a purpose or result. In economic and policy debates, however, the dominant notion of ‘work’ has acquired a much narrower meaning. It does not extend to cover the activities required for the reproduction of life such as caring and housekeeping, neither the broader set of things we do on our own initiative without expecting remuneration. The dominant conception of work remains confined to the set of activities formally recognized by society as worthy of remuneration. For most people in Western capitalist countries, work is still understood as wage labour, and weekly working times of around 40 hours have come to be perceived as an almost natural configuration of time.

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The global lab: political and technological experiments in the Global South

By Adam Moe Fejerskov

From pandemics to climate change to ever-growing humanitarian needs, humanity is making limited progress in tackling the structural causes of contemporary global crises. The result is a future of growing unknowns. Here, politics become increasingly experimental, as we struggle with unprecedented challenges and changes, leaving the fate of both planet and people to unproven technologies and uncertain policies. In a new book, The Global Lab, I explore the question of a future of experimental politics that too often becomes one of both inequality and exclusion for vulnerable groups across the world.

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Marx and Colonialism

By Lucia Pradella

It is widely believed that Marx did not systematically consider the role of colonialism within the process of capital accumulation. According to David Harvey, Marx concentrated on a self-closed national economy in his main work. Although he did mention colonialism in Part 8 of Capital Volume 1 on the so-called primitive accumulation, this would only belong to a pre-history of capital, not to its everyday development. Based on a similar assumption, some postcolonial scholars criticise Marx for being Eurocentric, even a complicit supporter of Western imperialism, who ignored the agency of non-Western people.

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