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Fake concepts in development, disasters and climate change: are academics complicit?

Bush House North East Wing, Strand Campus, London

20 Nov
Human Geography seminar series
Part of Human Geography seminars

Speaker: Terry Cannon, Institute of Development Studies and Visiting Senior Lecturer at the Department of Geography, King’s College London


Dr Terry Cannon argues that there has been a major shift in development studies away from its goal to explain why there is poverty and vulnerability (e.g. to natural hazards) to a situation where it has become a prop for reformism. Any serious explanation of why poverty (and ‘lack of development’ exists) must inevitably explain it in terms of systems of power that allocate livelihood assets (especially land and water), income and welfare. Therefore any work on development, disasters and climate change that avoids such causation is likely to be subverted and co-opted by institutions that prefer not to examine such causes. Given that ‘poverty reduction’, ‘food security’, ‘community-based’ everything, and ‘empowerment’ (e.g. of women) all tend to ignore systems of power as explanations, it follows de facto that most development interventions are reforms at best and colluding with continued exploitation and oppression at worst. Where are academics in this process, and does the need for us to secure careers through research funding and publications make us complicit?

Drinks and nibbles will be provided in BH(NE) 6.05 after the late-afternoon seminar (from 17:00).

*If you are external to King's and would like to attend this event, please contact the event organiser

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