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Sustainability interrogated: societies, growth, and social justice

Sustainability interrogated: societies, growth, and social justice

Development Studies Association Conference 2017

6-8 September 2017 | University of Bradford, UK

Sustainability is increasingly conceptualized as a form of 'public good' in development theory and practice. But the idea of sustainability has always been contentious, mediated by power relations at global, regional, national and local levels. Commonly policy approaches focus on eco-economic or bio-economic models rather than interrogating sustainability's inherently political dynamism. The wide range of explanations and conceptions of sustainable development can be roughly grouped into 'problem solving/rationalist' and 'critical theory' perspectives.

This conference welcomes papers from either (or both) perspectives and will provide the opportunity for interested scholars to 'go deep' within their chosen framing and take a 'look over the fence' at what other analytical perspectives 'are up to'.

Critical questions to be covered in this conference include:

  • Is it still relevant to talk about sustainability as though it is not a contended and contentious issue for development?
  • To what extent is the discourse of “sustainability" shaping a range of policies and practices at local and global level? What effect is this having on patterns of inequality, poverty, and insecurity?
  • How do critical concepts such as power, capital, and gender help us to understand the challenges presented by economic growth and sustainability?
  • What are the challenges to conceptualising and interpreting sustainability in different contexts and scales?
  • Can we achieve synergies between sustainability, security, sovereignty and effective resource governance…or are these interactions about trade-offs?
  • To what extent, and how, are the SDGs relevant and useful for ending global poverty and achieving gender equality and empowering women?
  • How can, and should, sustainability be linked with political and societal resilience in fragile or conflict affected areas?

Visit DSA2017 webpage for more information


12.09.2017
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