CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS: Views on the EU as a development actor in conversation with postdevelopment

We are calling on scholars of EU Studies, Development Studies, International Relations and related fields.

We would like to invite you to submit your abstracts for our panel session on “Views on the EU as a development actor in conversation with postdevelopment”, which will take place at the upcoming EADI ISS 2020 Conference in The Hague (29 June – 2 July 2020):

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Uncomfortable in white Skin: Research, (Self-)Reflexivity and Representation

by Fiona Faye

I felt uncomfortable when writing about other people after my last research stay in Benin. In qualitative research, you have so much material and then you need to decide what to take in, what to leave out. The picture is always incomplete because you only have a certain number of pages. How can you make comprehensible to the readers all you saw and experienced and everything people explained to you so patiently? Even worse, you have the power to choose and thereby to substantially shape what the readers will think about the persons or groups of people you are writing about. It’s this kind of power, which is probably impossible to avoid (is it?) when writing about somebody else, which makes me feel uncomfortable in my skin, especially as a white researcher in Benin.

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Development: a failed project

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It’s time to abandon development and think about postdevelopment instead.

by Julia Schöneberg

“They talk to me about progress, about ‘achievements,’ diseases cured, improved standards of living. I am talking about societies drained of their essence, cultures trampled underfoot, institutions undermined, lands confiscated, religions smashed, magnificent artistic creations destroyed, extraordinary possibilities wiped out. They throw facts at my head, statistics, mileages of roads, canals, and railroad tracks. […] I am talking about natural economies that have been disrupted – harmonious and viable economies adapted to the indigenous population – about food crops destroyed, malnutrition permanently introduced, agricultural development oriented solely toward the benefit of the metropolitan countries, about the looting of products, the looting of raw materials.”

– Aime Césaire (1950): ‘Discourse on Colonialism’

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Reaching the least, the last, the lowest and the lost: Thoughts on Gandhi-ji and the spirit of Higher Education

by Budd Hall and Rajesh Tandon

The words in the title of this blog are the formal goals of the Dayalbagh Educational Institute, a university founded by followers of the Radhaswami faith in the early 20th Century. We learned about the unique and inspiring work of the Dayalbagh University from Dr. Anand Mohan, the Registrar as part of this presentation during a two-day symposium on the implications of Ghandian thought to the issues facing Higher Education Institutions in the first quarter of the 21st Century.  The symposium was jointly organized and hosted by the UNESCO Chair for Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education in cooperation with the Association of Indian Universities, UNESCO New Delhi and the Asian Office of the International Development Research Centre September 18-20, 2019.

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Being a ‘hypocritic’ commonwealth scholar: On moments of colonial backlog and postcolonial fractures

by Vijitha Rajan

This short note is a reflection on how I felt fractured being a Commonwealth Scholar, between my colonial past and post-colonial present. In the discourse of international development, a Commonwealth scholarship is symbolised as a gesture of the lasting commitment of the United Kingdom towards Commonwealth citizens. Yet its lesser projected colonial and post-colonial undertones made my engagement with the ‘prestigious’ Commonwealth Scholarship more complex than a straightforward experience of meritocratic achievement.

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Spirituality, a road to sustainable worlds?

by Anton Vandevoorde

“Water is life, water is sacred” Dale told me, a strong Mi’kmaq water protector, while we were sitting in a strawbale house. The local Mi’kmaq First Nations are protesting since 2014 against the construction of an underground gas storage near Stewiacke, Nova Scotia. Alton Gas, a subsidiary of Alta Gas wants to dissolve ten thousand cubic metres of salt from the underground to make space for gas and discharge the salt in the Shubenacadie river.

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“Lands selling like hot cakes”- Village Politics and Development disorientation

by Alesia Ofori Dedaa

A common assumption about land inheritance and ownership in Sub-Saharan Africa is that it is either matrilineal or patrilineal. However, land ownership is complex and highly political. My family have had to negotiate these complexities in our quest to access, own and keep land in our small world. Land titling used to be informal, but as population increases, it has become complex to negotiate this informality especially in rural communities. In this narrative article, I show how “messy” land systems have become, suggesting possible solutions to it for development practitioners.

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Undeveloping the North

by Aram Ziai

The concept of ‘Undeveloping the North’ (‘Abwicklung des Nordens’) opposes both the discourse of ‘development’ in general (and its imperative of ‘developing the South’) and the discourse of ‘sustainable development’ as its accompanying ecological modernization. It sees relations of power in global capitalism and its drive for accumulation as the cause of poverty in the South and ecological degradation worldwide. Therefore, it focuses on struggling against these relations of power and this economic system. The concept (Spehr 1996: 209-236, Hüttner 1997, Bernhard et al. 1997) arose from a critique of sustainable development, which was seen as an ecological modernization of corporate capitalism reproducing ideas of Western superiority, patriarchal faith in science and technology, and unjustified trust in planning and ‘development’ (Hüttner 1997: 141).

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