How ethical can research relationships be in Development Studies?

By Isis Barei-Guyot

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted research practice, and where research was possible to continue nevertheless, researchers had to ask themselves how it could do so ethically. The context of the pandemic meant that many of such ethical considerations were new to researchers, and we witnessed a moment of overcoming and adapting that produced changes on a scale and at a pace that would have been previously inconceivable. However, these extraordinary efforts to keep research moving during the pandemic highlighted the inequalities that had become normalised within research practice, and particularly within research relationships.

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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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Our bright digital lives: some critical thoughts

By Basile Boulay

We find ourselves at a strange crossroads. Never have we been more aware of the devastating impact of consumer goods on the environment and never have we been so dependent upon them. Technological innovations are embedded in the daily lives of even the most critical among us, and both usage of and demand for devices grows exponentially, leaving us to contemplate the ravages of climate change on our brightly lit screens. Understanding our relationship with modern technologies as well as conceptualising a coherent framework for a collective liveable future requires us to engage with difficult questions while avoiding counterproductive moralising pitfalls. In this blogpost, I suggest that a critical political economy outlook coupled with an effort to reconceptualise the ‘good life’ could be a useful starting point.

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