Global Development Institute Blog

Global Development Institute Blog

Critical visions of development from the Global Development Institute: Uniting the strengths of IDPM and BWPI.

Get a GDI master’s without leaving your job, or paying a penny!

Get a GDI master’s without leaving your job, or paying a penny!

While our campus based master’s programmes are regularly oversubscribed, they don’t work for everyone. If you’re in a job you love, or have family commitments – but still want to immerse yourself in postgraduate study then a distance learning programme can be an excellent flexible option.

We offer two courses, starting in January, that provide both practical and critical insights into key development issues.  Even better, we’ve got two scholarships on offer for international students from selected countries.

read more…

Hrishipara daily financial diaries: Tracking transactions, understanding lives

Hrishipara daily financial diaries: Tracking transactions, understanding lives

Since May 2015 we have been recording the daily money transactions of up to 70 households living near a small market town in central Bangladesh. These ‘daily financial diaries’ shed light on the money-management behaviour of low-income households, described in papers which can be found on the project’s website. Up to now we have explored matters that face all our ‘diarists’, such as savings and credit, income and expenditure, health, and education.

Tracking transactions, understanding lives’ is a new series focusing on individual diarists. We aim to create vivid pictures that give readers a sense of what these lives are like. We hope this will help researchers and activists design better interventions for low-income households. read more…

Problems of development and “development” as a problem

Problems of development and “development” as a problem

Henning Melber, President of the EADI and Julia Schöneberg, Research Fellow at the University of Kassel

Brazil as the latest example shows: right-wing populism remains on the rise, unleashing the brute force of predator capitalism under authoritarian regimes. The temporary vision of promoting social welfare states as a form of good governance has been replaced by new ideologies bordering to a revival of Social Darwinism. White supremacists, populists and nationalists (re-)enter political commanding heights, basing their rule on exclusion and racism. Those concerned about inequality and all forms of discrimination, advocating the rights of the marginalised and disadvantaged, are ridiculed, harassed and increasingly victims of direct, structural and cultural violence. Their struggles for human rights, justice and dignity face an uphill battle. Political repression is mounting. The unsustainable exploitation of the world’s limited resources as integral part of a growth paradigm is once again accelerated. read more…

Collapse: grey development and failed architecture in Nairobi

Collapse: grey development and failed architecture in Nairobi

Dr Constance Smith, Hallsworth Fellow in Social Anthropology, The University of Manchester

‘Those building materials are bad! See that steel, it is very small. The bricks are also weak, they could not build a tall building like this’.

Standing amid the rubble of a collapsed tenement block in Nairobi, I was speaking with Maria, a resident who had managed to escape from the building before it fell the previous night. She was lucky to get out, but had lost everything. As she recounted her experience, it became clear that though terrifying, she did not see its failure as an aberration or unexplainable event. She was quick to link the collapse of the building to wider Nairobi politics, as well as to a shadowy world of property speculation and an opportunistic construction industry. She continued:

‘This building, even it hasn’t lasted the year. You see, it is still new, but now it has brought these failures. People are greedy, you can see they are cutting corners. Now you can see. Strong materials are expensive, so they won’t pay.’ read more…

Infrastructure-led development and the race to connect the world

Infrastructure-led development and the race to connect the world

GDI researcher Seth Schindler recently presented at The First General Assembly of the Alliance of Scientific Organizations (ANSO) in the Belt and Road Region, in Beijing, China.

Created by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, ANSO brings together researchers, policy makers and practitioners to identify how the Belt and Road initiative can best promote sustainable regional development.

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Chasing the Lion: Command-and-Control Conservation or Why Small Is Beautiful

Chasing the Lion: Command-and-Control Conservation or Why Small Is Beautiful

Ethan Hall, International Development MSc

The eco-tourist bubble is the concept that animals, landscapes and ecological processes appear as if by magic, with no reference to the historical and social pressures that has allowed them to emerge; this was not a problem that I encountered as I stared at the lion. Mixed with my feelings of spectacle were ones of guilt and an acute awareness of the conflict that established and perpetuates this lion’s home.  This was not undisturbed nature; boundaries do not fall naturally, with people removed from the picture.

The disparity of power that established Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda’s largest national park, is perpetuated today. The name itself, a reference to the then president of the British Royal Geographic Society, is a reminder of the colonial past that laid the foundations of the park. read more…

Hillary Clinton is wrong about European immigration: insiders, outsiders and the rise of populism in gated communities

Hillary Clinton is wrong about European immigration: insiders, outsiders and the rise of populism in gated communities

Dr Cathy Wilcock, Honorary Research Fellow, Global Development Institute & Postdoctoral Researcher at International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague

Hillary Clinton ran for the US presidency against a man arguing that building a wall was the solution to so-called ‘migration problems’ in the USA. Having no clear alternative vision of her own, she lost ground even among voters with migration backgrounds. Strange then, that her recent interjection into European politics is to recommend wall-building over here.

Wall-building – whether physical or symbolic – is not only a misapplied remedy to a mis-identified problem, but it can exacerbate the very problems it claims to eliminate. Drawing on what we know of gated communities, it is clear that building walls around Europe will only add to its troubles. And it is worth pointing out that there are already walls being built within Europe – see for example the Hungarian wall at the border with Serbia and Romania.

Clinton has argued that in order to stem the spread of populism, Europe needs to get a handle on immigration and stop migrants from crossing borders into Europe. She links a rise in right-wing populism to fears around immigration and proposes drastically curbing immigration in order to assuage those fears and the appetite for populism which emerges from them. read more…

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