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SP33 - Rethinking Knowledge for Development in the 21st Century: Actors, Tools and Processes

Convened by Stephanie Arnold and Mirek Tobiáš Hošman (University of Bologna, Italy)

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In many ways, knowledge is the bread and butter of global development. Informed by national statistics, satellite data, local experiments and global research, development knowledge shapes domestic policies and international development programs alike. While there is growing consensus among scholars and practitioners that development interventions should only occur based on well-founded theories and facts-based evidence, who designs these theories, how facts are constructed, and how they are employed to shape development programs worldwide remain a rather underexplored facet of the development discourse.

Emerging epistemological paradigms of development (e.g. post-growth, de-growth, decolonial perspectives…) draw renewed attention to how development knowledge is constructed, the role of actors, the tools with which knowledge is (re)produced, and how it is disseminated to recipient communities. How does the position of traditional actors (e.g. international organizations, academic institutions, poverty labs…) in knowledge generation change under contemporary development epistemologies? How have they contributed to the emergence of new epistemological approaches by constructing and teaching development lessons? How have digital tools and big data affected the development knowledge production? Where have new technologies slowed or accelerated the rise of new development paradigms and new development issues? And how does development knowledge shape relatively new debates on digital development, pandemic response preparedness, or the re-emerged issue of global indebtedness?

This panel welcomes both complete papers and early drafts approaching the actors, tools, and processes of development knowledge from various angles. Furthermore, it invites papers on long-standing debates as well as topics explicitly exploring new perspectives and recent themes (e.g. post-growth, de-growth, decolonial perspectives…). Contributions from scholars from the Global South and early career researchers are especially encouraged.