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RT18 - Challenging Global Development: towards decoloniality and justice

Henning Melber (Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala) & Uma Kothari (University of Manchester)

This panel will discuss the key themes, ideas and arguments presented in the EADI edited book Challenging Global Development: towards decoloniality and justice.  Taken together the chapters in the book argue that thus far, much critical research on development work has emphasised its failings. Either development does not achieve what it sets out to do or is actively complicit in the reproduction of systems of dominance and exploitation. The difficulty with these approaches is that they lead to dead-ends: we know what is wrong, but not what might be a better approach towards meaningful change. No longer content with tinkering around the edges, levelling critiques at this or that definition of development, policy directive, or methodological approach this volume explores what a fundamental reconsideration of global development based on notions of decoloniality and justice might look like. This represents an important shift exploring how our critiques can disrupt and renew our understandings of development capable of articulating a more progressive politics.  Furthermore, we reflect on the act of, and processes involved in, studying development. This requires a critical analysis of our practices as development researchers, the nature of research partnerships and the selection of themes to study. The volume provides a reconsideration of how knowledge is produced, validated and disseminated and ways in which transformative processes of knowledge production can be achieved.

Individually and collectively the chapters critically engage with, and challenge, Eurocentric theories that often dismiss other forms of knowledge. They address the asymmetry in North-South power relations in research and knowledge production and support the deconstruction of dominant Eurocentric paradigms. They explore approaches to, and meanings of, decoloniality, indigenous knowledge systems and notions of inclusive development and identify acts of solidarity and forms of convivial cultures. Speakers will include some of the editors and contributors to the volume.


Kees Biekart, International Institute of Social Studies, The Netherlands
Laura Camfield, University of East Anglia, UK
Paola Minoia, University of Torino, Italy
Tanja Müller, University of Manchester, UK