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SP21 - What Is a “Development” Research Project? Transforming Ideas of Development through Development Research

Convened by Mette Fog Olwig, Lone Riisgaard and Jacob Rasmussen (Roskilde University, Denmark)

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Pre-defined ideas of development and problematic knowledge hierarchies between North and South tend to sideline non-Northern and alternative worldviews, modes of knowing and ways of living to the margins with the result that approaches to development, and to development research, become limited to already tried and tested models. How can development researchers challenge the homogenization of knowledge production, foster a multi-directional flow of learning across the North and South, and question pre-defined ideas of development through their research projects? This panel invites papers that take their point of departure in upcoming, ongoing or recently completed research projects that have consciously made an effort to transform ideas and practices of development. The panel thus takes a step back from looking at outcomes to instead discuss the process of constructing and implementing a research project at a meta level. Papers can address any aspect of the process, including: Who funds the project and how can this create limitations or possibilities for transforming ideas of development?  How do we challenge biases and stereotypes and decolonize methods, for example through our selection of cases and research questions? Who do we include in the project as partners and core team members? By opening up for a discussion of such issues in research projects and the possibilities for transforming ideas of development, this panel aims to create an opportunity for discussion across and between researchers and research institutions from around the world. While the primary goal of the panel is to foster dialogue, a special issue/joint article or edited book will be pursued if the papers and discussion at the panel lead to a convincing identification of key trends, concerns, rhythms, and possibilities.