GDI to host the Development Studies Association annual conference in June 2017

9 November 2017

The Global Development Institute has been selected to host the annual Development Studies Association (DSA) conference, which will focus on global inequalities.

The Development Studies Association (DSA) conference will mark 40 years of the DSA, as well as 60 years of Development Studies at the University of Manchester. From 27-29 June 2017 we’re anticipating over 400 participants from the Development Studies community joining us for three days of panels, workshops, and roundtables, keynotes, study group business meetings and social events. We are particularly keen to encourage civil society organisations and the policy making community to engage and exchange insights with academics and researchers.

This year’s conference directly addresses the challenge that global inequalities presents to development thinking and action. The problem of global inequalities has dominated intellectual and political debates over the past five years, reshaping policy as well as research agendas within international development as with the new rhetoric on ‘shared prosperity’ and strong focus on inequality within the SDGs.  New statistical evidence has drawn attention to inequalities within as well as between countries, highlighting the role that national-level politics plays in reproducing as well as challenging inequalities.

Thinking in terms of ‘global inequalities’ rather than ‘global poverty’ has generated more contentious debates and brought ideological differences to the surface. For example, new surveys find that people are less concerned with inequalities than with the ‘fairness’ of processes through which resources are distributed. Greeted by some as grounds for rejecting the inequality agenda, others see this as a call to take debates on inequality beyond the distribution of ‘stuff’ to examine the ways in which unequal relations of power shape all development processes and outcomes within the wider frame of social justice. If concerns over global inequalities have kick-started debates both old and new, this year’s conference will also look forward to how the next decade of development theory and practice will be defined.

The conference theme also builds upon The University of Manchester’s extensive research on defining and addressing global inequalities.

Professor Sam Hickey, a member of the conference coordination committee said, “The Development Studies Association has been going from strength to strength in recent years, so it’s a real privilege to host the annual conference in Manchester.

The theme of global inequalities is one of the major issues of our time and presents a challenge to development studies to move shift from traditional conceptions of ’international’ development towards a more universal idea of ‘global’ development and to  engage with a more political agenda. Identifying, measuring, critiquing and challenging inequalities is a pressing concern not just for the academic community, but to policy makers and civil society and we’re hoping to bring a variety of groups together to collectively address the complex issues involved.”   

The call for panels and workshops is open until 15 January.



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