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Accepted Paper:

Conceptualising Power in Donor Funded International Space Technology Projects through the Lens of Inclusive Innovation  

Authors:

Devyani Gajjar (The Open University)
Alessandra Marino
Susanne Schwenzer (The Open University)
Shonil Bhagwat (The Open University)

Paper short abstract:

Can space applications bring outcomes of inclusive development for project beneficiaries? To answer this question, this work in progress paper uses the lens of inclusive innovation to conceptualise and evaluate power relations in space projects funded by the UK government's Official Development Assistance budget.

Paper long abstract:

Applications of space technologies in donor-funded international development projects are emerging, such as the use of remote sensing data to predict malaria outbreaks or plan for disasters. Space projects often work within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals, which have been questioned over their ability to engage with power relations between stakeholders. When implemented, space projects could widen relational power inequalities for those excluded from the benefits of space applications through more powerful stakeholders retaining the ability to control technological resources. Furthermore, external space applications designed for local problems can centre epistemologies of the Global North while displacing marginalised communities’ knowledges. These issues call for a need to analyse power relations between participating stakeholders in space projects. This work in progress paper uses the lens of inclusive innovation to conceptualise power relations between stakeholders in space projects and evaluate whether they could bring outcomes of inclusive development for project beneficiaries, such as redistributing power over resources and recognising multiple knowledges. Space projects in the International Partnership Programme (IPP) will be evaluated, which is led by the UK Space Agency and funded by the UK government’s Official Development Assistance budget. Data collection methods include participant observation and semi-structured interviews with project members and beneficiaries. Preliminary findings indicate that volatile funding resources pose significant barriers to inclusive development. These findings could bring improved insights into if and how space projects can be governed to support inclusive development and social justice for those excluded from the benefits of space applications.

Panel P53d
Rethinking Power in Development Practice: understanding 'local agency' IV