It is time to abandon “development” goals and demand a post-2030 Utopia

by Mia Kristin Häckl and Julia Schöneberg

Following the critique, by Brecht De Smet, of the inherent shortcomings of the development paradigm, Julia Schöneberg and Mia Kristin Häckl argue for a post-2030 Utopia that starts now. They propose to ‘un-develop’ the Global North and to start from a multitude of radical alternatives from below.

Continue reading “It is time to abandon “development” goals and demand a post-2030 Utopia”

[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] Our Bodies are not Machines: From Crisis to Collective Healing

by Paulina Trejo Mendez

I googled the word crisis looking for a definition, here are the first three that appeared.

The first one: a time of intense difficulty or danger.

The second one: a time when an important decision must be made.

The third one: The turning point of a disease when an important change takes place, indicating either recovery or death.

I write this from the comfort of my own home, in a world that tries to overcome a health crisis to go back… outside, to visit friends, family and be able to connect with others, to grieve collectively, to feel a hug. I write from the safety of my home, a privilege I enjoy because I could stay inside, and quarantine, not everyone was able to do that where I come from, in Mexico. Their realities would not allow it, and even when some can stay at home, home is not a safe place to be in for everyone. Violence can be deadly for women and girls confined with their abusers.

Continue reading “[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] Our Bodies are not Machines: From Crisis to Collective Healing”

[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] BLACK LIVES MATTER – Solidarity Message

Some brief remarks from the editors, Rosalba Icaza and Zuleika Sheik

When we spoke of breath in our introduction to this series, on how oppression takes the breath away, we could not imagine that a few weeks later our worlds would reel from the death of George Floyd, which brought into the mainstream the deaths of countless other black bodies across the Global South at the hands of law enforcement. To us the link between the state carceral system and the lockdown and its exacting of violence on black bodies is explicit. It cannot be ignored. For this week’s feature, we offered this space to the ISS Black Community, based at the International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, who wrote a Message of Solidarity to the Black Lives Matter movement and that was featured on ISS website. We are grateful to ISS Black Community as they granted us permission to reproduce it in full here. 

by the ISS Black Community

Who are we? 

Day by day I keep asking this question as reasons fly out the window when I see the monstrosity perpetrated against each other. Today it is racism, tomorrow it is gender inequality, ethnicity bias, religious conflict, everyday it’s a constant struggle over one divide or the other.

Continue reading “[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] BLACK LIVES MATTER – Solidarity Message”

[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] Edges of the Pandemic – Survival Activism at the Peripheries in Brazil


by Su-ming Khoo and Mayara Floss

At the edges of necropolitics

If the current COVID-19 pandemic has taught us one thing it is that the elephant of widening inequality and basic deprivation is still in the room. A shadow hangs over the struggle to understand the different problems of the COVID-19 pandemic – a shadow of necropolitics that puts some people and risks in the obscure background in the current emergency, while others are in the foreground and the light. On the ground, social activists are working with primary care professionals in everyday struggles to help people stay safe and provide basic necessities like food, water or soap. Meanwhile, far-right protesters, some from the better-off classes who protest from the safety of their cars, but also some daily workers, Uber drivers and street traders are demonstrating against the lockdown, in protests that are reported to be approximating a military coup.  Their objective is getting workers back to work, contrary to public health recommendations. The elites want the economy to be re-opened, so they can get back to making profits and their convenient market freedoms, while the precariously-employed are torn between the need to stay safe at home, and the need to return to work in the absence of alternative means of survival.

Continue reading “[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] Edges of the Pandemic – Survival Activism at the Peripheries in Brazil”

[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] THE DAY AFTER

by Gustavo Esteva

No future

We lost floor underfoot.

Our world was reasonably predictable. Suddenly, from one day to another, deep trends that allowed us to anticipate the general and probable course of events and behaviors disappeared. We can no longer foresee what will happen. We are facing radical uncertainty.

There are inertias, obsessions, propensities and hobbies. We can correctly assume that a variety of actors and sectors of society will persist in the lines of behavior that characterize them. But we cannot know the outcome of their actions in what will undoubtedly be a new balance of forces, under radically new circumstances.

The world we will experience after the pandemic will not have changed because of it, but for previous critical conditions. We know almost nothing about the climate that is emerging after the climate collapse. Even less do we know what will remain of the institutions after the socio-political collapse. The pandemic only heightened the challenges at the crossroads we had already reached.

Continue reading “[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] THE DAY AFTER”

[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] F*** Professionalism: or Why We Cannot Return to ‘Normal’

by Sara C. Motta


Returning to this blog post 10 days after it was initially and hurriedly penned as the layers of exhaustion and necessity of not returning to, or acting, normal becomes increasingly urgent and palpably felt-sensed.

Writing from solo isolation with my two youngest and third arriving next week, in my bed, recovering from a virus and sore lungs (not ‘the’ virus, I think), in my PJs and unwashed hair. Youngest watching Netflix (sorry doesn’t work to give him a task he can get on with at 7am until lunch time as suggested in a RMIT article with steps on to how to manage time during a pandemic!- I might just get 20 minutes at a stretch).

Wonder why some of our voices get drowned out?

Continue reading “[COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins] F*** Professionalism: or Why We Cannot Return to ‘Normal’”

[COVID-19] Pandemic agnotology and the ‘worlds’ of development

by Su-ming Khoo

The ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic places a magnifying glass on many issues of local and global fairness and justice that have been ignored and under-emphasised. The world-wide outbreak, the public health measures to contain it, and the resulting socioeconomic disruption call for greater attention to be paid to the inequities and injustices that have been hiding in plain sight. The problems of under-emphasis and apparent lack of knowledge about who is really suffering maps directly onto trajectories traced in critical development studies.

Continue reading “[COVID-19] Pandemic agnotology and the ‘worlds’ of development”

COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins

by Rosalba Icaza & Zuleika Sheik

Some discomforts, reflections and an invitation.

The storyteller imbues the margins and our embodied experiences of oppression with sacredness for as Anzaldúa (2007: 60) describes those who are pushed out and have faced multiple oppressions are most likely to develop ‘la facultad’ – the capacity to see in surface phenomena the meaning of deeper realities. The ones possessing this sensitivity are ‘excruciatingly alive to the world’ and from critical collective remembering, recreating and reweaving these experiences can develop the most complex and multiple forms of liberatory praxis ~ Sara Motta

Continue reading “COVID-19 Pandemic: Worlds Stories from the Margins”

[COVID-19] (Insubordinate) Conviviality in the COVID-19 Conjuncture

by Manolo Callahan

There is no escaping COVID-19. And by now, most agree we all must contribute what we can to minimize the impact of this deadly virus. Unfortunately, there is less agreement about what has changed and even more uncertainty about what will be our “new normal” as we pass through this crisis. The battle lines over what is or isn’t “normal” have never been more clearly drawn. Do we return to the system as it once was, resurrecting what brought us to this moment, or do we engage some other way of living, working, and celebrating together?

Continue reading “[COVID-19] (Insubordinate) Conviviality in the COVID-19 Conjuncture”