Reimagining development alternatives (Paper)

Richard Friend (University of York)
Indrajit Roy (University of York)
I: Rethinking development and development research
Session slots:

Short abstract:

New patters of globalisation with emerging ecological pressures, dependence on interconnected social-ecological systems, changing patterns of mobility and migration, and structures and relations of politics and power require reimagining development alternatives from theory to practice.

Long abstract:

The world is increasingly inter-connected and inter-dependent, yet more divided. Familiar framings of North-South, global and local no longer hold. Global commitments to transformative change that is socially and ecologically just, raise the need to consider alternatives to mainstream development trajectories. This session addresses conceptual, methodological and implementation challenges focusing on: Ecological dimensions: the global ecological crisis is framed variously around concepts of the Anthropocene and planetary boundaries, with growing concern around roles and responsibilities, the distribution of risks and vulnerabilities, and calls for 'safe and just operating space'. Social-ecological-technological systems: The scale and intensity of globalisation has depended on and created SETS of water, food, energy, waste, transport and information, bringing people and locations into relations of production, trade and consumption never previously witnessed. As far reaching as such systems are, they are also characterised by an inherent fragility and propensity to fail, with the impacts of a shock in one location, cascading across the globe. Mobility and migration: greater movement of people and the spread of livelihood portfolios across locations and economies is increasingly a response to stress and crisis, creating a whole new set of relations and dependencies. Politics and power: globalisation has created new structures and relations of politics and power that have long-threatened the influence of states or the citizens whom they represent, while also creating new opportunities for activism, and mobilisation across locations and countries. At the same time, we see contradictory trends of authoritarianism, and constrained spaces for deliberative, informed public debate.