Common Challenges for All? A Critical Engagement with the Emerging Vision for Post‐pandemic Development Studies

Wiegratz, Jörg; Behuria, Pritish; Laskaridis, Christina; Pheko, Lebohang Liepollo; Radley, Ben and Stevano, Sara (2023). Common Challenges for All? A Critical Engagement with the Emerging Vision for Post‐pandemic Development Studies. Development and Change (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/dech.12785

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic motivated calls for the field of development studies to be recast. This article analyses two prominent, future-gazing ‘pandemic papers’ to illustrate salient features of the ascendant trend towards a new ‘global development’ paradigm. By unpacking and interpreting major lines of reasoning put forward by two agenda-setting articles, this contribution appraises how these texts make the case for the future of development studies. Through this analysis, the article questions the core arguments that seek to shift the contours of the discipline, and thus the study of development generally. In making their call to adopt a universalist or global development framework that includes a focus on Europe and North America, the authors of the ‘pandemic papers’ overlook the Southern origins of and justifications for the North‒South framework they seek to overturn. The present article acknowledges the importance of and supports returning to and advancing — rather than jettisoning — the intellectual lineage anchored in non-Truman understandings of development, including as a popular project of Southern emancipation from colonial, imperial and structural subordination. Rather than de-centring the global North‒South framework, it suggests that the analytically more useful way forward is for development studies to (re)centre the global South and use global South theories and lenses to better understand the world economy and the majority world.

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