This is a call for the Development Days Conference on the 17-18th February 2022 in Helsinki. On the theme infrastructures, technologies, and vulnerabilities in global development.
In light of the urgent need to tackle climate change, inequality, and unsustainable forms of development, Development Days 2022 discusses the complex relations between infrastructures, technologies, and vulnerabilities in global development. The conference is organised by Finnish Society for Development Research in collaboration with the University of Helsinki, Hanken School of Economics and Finnish University Partnership for International Development – UniPID. The conference is currently planned as on-site event, but online participation will also be possible if needed.
Infrastructure and (new) technologies unquestionably play a central role in (and for) development, as highlighted by the current sustainable development goals and revealed by the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change. The extractive development pathways putting liveable environments at risk are closely intertwined with infrastructural politics. Perhaps more than ever, the creation, maintenance, and distribution of infrastructures and technologies are crucial for virtually every aspect of development, including: the environment; health care; food supply; climate responses; education; trade; transportation and traffic; employment and work; economic stability and growth; information and communication; and, not least, social activities and well-being.
However, not only are access to and control over infrastructures and technologies drastically uneven; they also generate power inequalities and vulnerabilities in global development. With the notion of politics of vulnerability, we draw attention to power-ridden and complex socio-technical, gender, ethnic, and political-ecological relations. These relations shape the production of differentiated vulnerabilities to infrastructural, social, and environmental harms and adversities. It is urgent to think of and explore infrastructures critically because of their power to define futures by locking-in certain social, political, economic, and environmental relations while simultaneously locking-out other modes of relations for long periods of time. To avoid the looming socio- environmental catastrophe, we need to consider how the current infrastructural formations can be rearranged, retrofitted, or even decommissioned, as well as how to create future infrastructures that support and generate more just and sustainable futures.
The conference features working groups that address a range of themes, including extractivism, urban and smart infrastructure, environmental infrastructures, politics of vulnerability, food and energy systems, forest politics, global supply chains, China’s infrastructural engagement in the global South, environmental policy, decolonization, to name a few. Additionally, the conference pre-events include Master’s and Doctoral workshops (16th February).
You are most welcome to join and contribute to these critical scholarly debates! Please, submit your abstract (typically 250 words) by 19 November 2021, directly to the chair(s) of the working group of your choice. The acceptance of abstracts is confirmed by 6 December 2021. More detailed instructions can be found here, and more information about the working groups is available here.
- Tania Li, University of Toronto
- Timothy Oakes, University of Colorado
- Nikhil Anand, University of Pennsylvania