EADI Prize for Development Studies 2008

EADI has created the prize to encourage creative, interdisciplinary, multifaceted research on development issues. It was created in 2005 with the objective to reward and bring recognition “to encourage creative, interdisciplinary, multifaceted research on development issues” from the upcoming generation of development specialists. Among the entries of this year’s competition, the jury has identified a clear winner. Dolf te Lintelo with his outstanding paper on “The spatial politics of food hygiene: regulating small-scale retail in Delhi”.

In May 2007, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi suddenly banned cooking street foods, with Supreme Court endorsement. Public health concerns overrode implications for the livelihoods of food sellers or Delhi’s food culture. Dolf te Lintelo’s article interprets the ban through an analysis of municipal policy against a backdrop of economic reforms, restructuring retail systems, emerging food safety awareness and growing middle class claims to the city. The paper argues that the ban’s sudden emergence obscures a regulatory history that consistently privileged particular types of retail, through policy design, formulation and differential implementation. Its main conclusion is that “ostensibly addressing public health, the ban’s significance hence lies in reflecting and incorporating a spatial politics between competing claims of the poor and the middle classes to urban public space”.  The paper was selected for the EADI prize, because it gives attention to food safety, which is a neglected topic in development studies. The essay does however more than that in going beyond the rhetoric of governmental agencies and official policies in carefully analysing how these policies are executed in practice and to what extent the implementation matches official discourse.  Dolf te Lintelo studied Public Administration and Public Policy, University of Twente, The Netherlands and finished his PhD in Development Studies, School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia (UEA), Norwich, UK in May 2008. The winning essay was based on his PhD thesis. The paper will be published in the European Journal of Development Research, Volume 21.  We congratulate Dolf and wish him all the best for his future career!