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A Legitimate Freedom Approach to Sustainability

Sen, Scanlon and the Inadequacy of the Human Development Index

Andrew Crabtree

Although the capability approach has had a tremendous impact on the development debate, it has had little to say about sustainable development. As several Human Development Reports have maintained, the last twenty years' gains in human development are not sustainable. The failure to include an integrate sustainability into the Human Development Index would thus give the wrong policy message. Drawing on the works of Amartya Sen and Thomas Scanlon, this article argues that sustainable development can be seen as a process of increasing legitimate freedoms, the freedoms that others cannot reasonably reject. Thus, Sen's vision of development as freedom is amended to suggest limits to freedoms. Forms of development which are not sustainable can be reasonably rejected due, at least, to the harm and blighting entailed. Based on this, it is argued that at country level of comparison the Human Development Index should be combined with the Ecological Footprint to reflect sustainability, and that the Human Development Reports should give way to Sustainable Development Reports.

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Rafael Böcker Zavaro

This article sets out the results of research which aims to determine the characteristics of fishing development in the province of Tarragona, from the social, territorial and economic point of view, as well as the perspective of the public policies implemented for this sector. It considers the role played by the various social, economic and institutional agents, and the importance of sustainable and responsible management of fishing. The research method we have chosen is the case study. The comparative analysis of the seven fishing ports in the south of Catalonia is even more significant in that each one has different sales volumes. The techniques used for gathering information were: the semi-structured interview, non-participant observation and the use of secondary statistical and documentary sources.

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Navigating through contradictory rationalities

Experiences of development in Mexico

Martin J. Larsson

English Abstract:

This article discusses the idea of policy coherence for development, and its relation to the experience of development along the Grijalva River in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. Through an analysis of different understandings of the garbage in the river, and of the attempts to deal with the garbage, I highlight tensions between different generations of policies, between different levels of government, and between implementing the goals of governmental representatives and a meaningful participation by citizens. To understand these tensions, the article draws attention to the coexistence of experience-based rationalities, which are important to take into account when formulating policies, and when moving from policies to concrete projects.

Spanish Abstract:

Este artículo discute la idea de la coherencia en las políticas públicas para el desarrollo, y su relación con la experiencia de desarrollo sobre el Río Grijalva, en el estado de Chiapas, México. A través de un análisis de diversos entendimientos de la basura en el Río, subrayo las tensiones entre diferentes generaciones de políticas públicas; entre diferentes niveles de gobierno; y las tensiones entre la implementación de metas de los representantes gubernamentales y una participación significativa por parte de los ciudadanos. Para entender estas tensiones, el artículo enfatiza la co-existencia de racionalidades basadas en la experiencia práctica, que son importantes considerar al formular políticas públicas, y al moverse de las políticas públicas a proyectos concretos.

French Abstract:

Cet article examine l’idée de cohérence dans les stratégies politiques pour le développement et sa relation avec l’expérience du développement autour du fleuve Grijalva, dans l’état du Chiapas, au Mexique. À travers l’analyse des multiples significations des déchets dans le fleuve, je souligne les tensions entre différentes générations de politiques publiques, entre différents niveaux de gouvernement, et entre la mise en oeuvre des objectifs par les représentants gouvernementaux et la participation significative des citoyens. Pour comprendre ces tensions, l’article insiste sur la coexistence de rationalités fondées sur l’expérience pratique, qu’il est important de prendre en compte dans l’élaboration des politiques publiques, et lors du passage de ces politiques publiques aux projets concrets.

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Andrea Butcher

In Ladakh, north-west India, a popular narrative of the region’s inhabitants as spiritually and ecologically enlightened combines with national sustainable and participatory development policies to produce a distinctive character that underpins the local administration’s development strategies. These strategies emphasise ‘traditional’ values of cooperation, simplicity, and ecological and spiritual harmony as the way to achieve culturally sustainable development and emotional well-being. However, obstacles to development appear when normative principles of sustainability and ecological wisdom encounter local cosmology, hierarchy and perceptions of expertise in society. In this article, I refl ect upon my fieldwork and previous regional ethnographies to consider possible frameworks for evaluating well-being as an indicator of culturally sustainable development that include concepts of cosmology and expert protection.

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Giuliana Chamedes

The conceptual history of 'economic development' is often told as a US-centered story. The United States, according to the standard account, turned to economic development as a tool in its struggle for global dominance during the Cold War. In line with recent research, this article demonstrates that the post-World War II boom in economic development had European origins as well, and that it originated as a joint response to the Cold War and to the unraveling of European empires. In particular, emphasis is placed on the little-studied contribution of a French Catholic activist who helped redefine economic development in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The Dominican Father Louis-Joseph Lebret stood at the head of an influential movement, which conceived of economic development as a way to save both France and Christianity in a moment of crisis for the French empire and for the Roman Catholic Church. In his writings, Lebret bestowed renewed legitimacy on the French 'civilizing mission.' He also revived elements of interwar Catholic thought to argue for the imperative of building a new moral-economic order that was neither communist nor capitalist. Far from a marginal historical actor, this theorist-practitioner was successful in his efforts, and gained followers for his vision of economic development in France, in Vatican City, at the United Nations, and in various former colonized countries.

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Band Development in Northern Ireland

Ethnographic Researcher to Policy Consultant

Jacqueline Witherow

This article examines the concept of 'band development' taking place within the parading band culture in contemporary Northern Irish society. The parading tradition in Northern Ireland today is associated with two main characteristics; first, the public image of contemporary parading traditions is mainly negative due to its association with parading disputes that particularly developed in the 1990s. Second, that aggressively Protestant Blood and Thunder flute bands have become a dominant feature of these public performances. It is these ensembles that are defining people's notions of what parading bands represent. This article will discuss how ethnographic research with these bands allowed engagement on a policy level to take place, leading to 'band development'.

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Tobias Denskus and Daniel E. Esser

We review the ontological and pedagogical origins of International Development graduate education in the context of increasing pressures to 'professionalise' graduate curricula. We apply Giroux's concept of 'vocationalisation' to argue that professionalisation risks undermining the field's intellectual foundations in an elusive quest to equip students with functional rather than intellectual skills. Acknowledging ever-growing competition among graduates for gainful employment in this sector, we argue that instructors of International Development should recommit to the field's reflective tradition by creating spaces for transformative education and develop a repoliticised ethos that critically engages global capitalism.

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Sandhya Ganapathy

This article draws attention to the ways that Alaskan Native sovereignties and economies are increasingly driven by market-rational logics. I examine a proposed land exchange between the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Alaska Native Doyon Corporation that would enable Doyon to pursue oil development ventures on lands exchanged out of the Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge. This plan was made possible due to uneven political and structural relationships created through Native land claims legislation in Alaska, as well as shifts in federal land management policies that have made land more easily exchangeable and developable. These structural inequalities and shifts in state policy have laid the groundwork for neo-liberal development schemes that are pursued in the name of Alaskan Native communities and economies but are also often at their expense.

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“Living Well Rather Than Living Better”

Measuring Biocentric Human-Nature Rights and Human–Nature Development in Ecuador

Johannes M. Waldmüller

Drawing on the first attempt worldwide to implement human rights indicators at the national level in Ecuador (2009–2014), as well as on a critical review of the uneasy relationship between human rights and human development discourses, this article calls into question the prefix “human” in contemporary human development and human rights thinking. By alternating case study and reflection, it argues that a systemic and biocentric focus on human–nature relationships, extending the concepts of capabilities and functionings to ecosystems and human–nature interactions, is important for designing adequate tools for human–nature development, monitoring and for moving beyond ascribing merely instrumental value to nature. In order to shift the common understanding of human rights and human development from anthropocentric frameworks toward a more realistic biocentric focus, a focus on life as such is proposed, including inherent moments of arising and passing that express the necessary limitations to all human conduct and striving.

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Andrea Flores Urushima

The 1960s period witnessed the most important internal migration of Japan's population since the modern period with the definitive shift from a rural to an urban-based society. This unprecedented transformation led the Japanese central government to request visions for the prospective development of the national territory in an open competition. Responding to this call, a wide range of reports were produced and debated between 1967 and 1972, mobilizing a vast network of influential representatives in city making, such as sociologists, economists, urban planners, and architects. This article analyzes these reports on the theme of the conservation of natural and historical heritage. To support a sustainable development that was adjustable to economic and social change, the reports emphasized the aesthetic and environmental value of natural landscapes and traditional lifestyles. The reports also proclaimed the rise of an information society and stressed the growing importance of leisure and tourism activities, nowadays one of the most profitable industries worldwide. Apart from their value as interdisciplinary reflections on problems related to urban expansion with visionary qualities, the reports were also highly relevant because they influenced later policies on urban planning and heritage preservation.