We are pleased to present this first edition of published term papers authored by IDS graduates (2017/18) from across our suite of master’s degrees.
This is the second edition of Ideas from IDS, our publication featuring top-class student papers from the 2017/18 academic year. Ideas form a fundamental component of development studies, and there are a great number of them in this collection of papers.
Our students have done themselves and IDS proud, impressing our external examiners with their performance and with the stimulating content of their assignments and dissertations. The ideas presented here are important enough to deserve communication amongst wider student, researcher, and policy communities, hence this publication. In this issue, we celebrate and share the critical thinking, innovation, and excellence demonstrated by our students. What stands out, is not the collective endeavour within these papers, excellent though it is. Rather, it is the ways in which our students are asking fundamental questions about who is responsible for development, about the sites of development, and about how development might be re-envisaged to better achieve its goals.
The first three papers examine relationships of social accountability between states and citizens.Nadjeli Babinet (MAGov18) asks what can be learnt from India’s Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) programme and, drawing lessons from India, what potential there is for successful social audits in Mexico. The next paper, by Amy Baum (MADev11), focuses on the building of a 1,172-mile pipeline for transporting crude oil across sacred Native American sites. Baum argues that these processes of contestation transform Native Americans’ identity and, through this, wider processes of development. Annette Fisher (MAP12) explores community-generated data and monitoring in Pakistan and India. Fisher shows that, when the data and monitoring result in political action, community empowerment and positive accountability contributions are more likely. The next three papers explore the potential of the private sector to address development issues.Matthew Gregora (MAGlob10) examines oil multinationals’ contributions to climate change, resource curse effects, and development. He argues that the corporate social responsibility activities of these mega-corporations offer only limited succour, providing uncritical social commentary and promoting profit-seeking activities. Harparmjot Hans (Remy) (MAPov11) then examines women’s participation in India’s labour market. Hans juxtaposes social and cultural constraints and barriers against women’s educational skills and capital potential. She argues that women’s current labour roles represent a form of modern patriarchy and that their full participation is necessary for India to sustain its economic and social development. Ian Lee’s (MAP12) paper examines citizens’ resistance to corporate power in Brazil and the UK. In this original critique of development, he draws our attention to dimensions frequently overlooked in development – love, goodwill, emotion, inner power, and caring – and argues that sharing is a more promising approach than participatory development.
The following two papers examine political challenges to the state and how these may offer new ways of seeing states and their role in development.Diego Orozco Fernández (MAGov18) deals with Mexican indigenous social movements’ autonomous municipalities and their role in fostering social development. This paper contrasts movement-inspired governance and autonomy and the corresponding relationships with the state, asking whether these offer new opportunities for addressing dependency and re-envisaging development. Benjamin Preclik’s (MAGlob10) paper also explores for new conceptualisations of the state, focusing this time on the inclusion of labour in East Africa, and for a re-envisaging of relations between states and labour, in which developmental states promote and enhance the capacity of labour. Gender, participation, social change, and urban development.
The final two papers offer a completely different take on development.Isabella Pyrgies MADev11) shares a reflective and personal exploration of gender, identity, and femininity. In this evocative charting of her learning to deal with PCOS (polycystic ovaries syndrome), Pyrgies explores the relationships between participation, power and photography, and how this offers new opportunities for social change. And finally, Tracy Taylor-Beck (MAPov11) brings a political economy lens to urban gentrification, examining the degree to which this offers opportunities for economic prosperity and freedom as opposed to, or alongside, experiences of displacement. Taylor-Beck challenges the notion that the free market will ensure a positive experience for all and asks what kinds of approaches and policies are necessary to avoid the combination of gentrification and dispossession exemplified in the city of London. In their respective focuses on the personal, and on ‘universal’ ideas of development as happening in the UK, both these papers provide refreshing alternatives to established development thinking, offering important new perspectives for current times.
You can see papers from 2016/17 MA students in Ideas from IDS 2016/17