State and Development: What Has Changed in India?

By Anthony P. D’Costa

Lately the Indian state under the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP or Indian People’s Party) has attracted a lot of attention. Aside from its divisive, populist Hindu-chauvinist politics, the government under Modi has unleashed an array of programs and projects, ostensibly designed to lead to a “new” united and prosperous India. Alas, the Citizenship Amendment Act, the poorly thought-out demonetization program, and the draconian nationwide lockdown during the corona virus pandemic did not unite India or make it prosperous. Continue reading “State and Development: What Has Changed in India?”

Why Positionalities Matter and What They Have to do with Knowledge Production

by Julia Schöneberg, Arda Bilgen, and Aftab Nasir

Coming from three different educational, geographical, and class backgrounds, the three of us met for the first time in a research institute in Germany. Together with a group of international colleagues, we were eager to be trained in Development Studies and pursue a PhD degree. In reminiscing about this journey many years later, we shared the struggles and challenges we experienced during our so-called ‘fieldwork’ stays in very different geographies and realised that there was a blatant gap not only in the way we approached our research, but also in the way we were trained: a lack of confrontation with the centrality of power and positionality in ‘development’ research (or any kind of research for that matter) – and a disregard of the colonial legacy in the way knowledge is created and considered legitimate.

Continue reading “Why Positionalities Matter and What They Have to do with Knowledge Production”

Area Studies Must Be Decolonised

The discipline’s existence reflects an enduring Western belief in the inferiority of knowledge production specific to different cultures

By David Simon

If you thought that area studies sounded like an odd name for an odd discipline, you’d be right. Its genesis reflects an enduring tension within academia between supposedly systematic (“disciplinary”) and geographically specific knowledge production – deriving from particular histories of how universities evolved in Euro-America and its former imperial and colonial realms. Continue reading “Area Studies Must Be Decolonised”

Transforming the Production and Use of Knowledge as a Key to Sustainable Development

By Niko Schäpke and Ioan Fazey

To shift global development to a sustainable and resilient path, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the2030 Agenda call for far-reaching transformations. In this endeavor, the use and generation of knowledge has an important role to play in shaping the direction, form and distribution of development. This is why formalized knowledge systems such as universities, research institutes and education, must change in order to best support transformations to more sustainable societies. What kinds of changes are needed in these knowledge systems and how can they be encouraged? Continue reading “Transforming the Production and Use of Knowledge as a Key to Sustainable Development”

Why Does Climate Adaptation End Up Repeating, Rather Than Rethinking, Old Development Mistakes?

By Siri Eriksen, Marianne Mosberg, Benard Muok, Katharine Vincent, Lisa Schipper, Morgan Scoville-Simonds

Climate change requires rethinking development. Yet, in the (understandable) rush to support adaptation, this has taken place within the structures and process of existing development paradigms. As a consequence, similar to well-known critiques of the development architecture, many adaptation-interventions reproduce both the development problems and the skewed power relations that have contributed to vulnerability in the first place. Continue reading “Why Does Climate Adaptation End Up Repeating, Rather Than Rethinking, Old Development Mistakes?”