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British Academy Conference, September 2014 – British Academy

10 & 11 September 2015

Convenor: Dr Clive Gabay, Queen Mary, University of London

James C Scott (Weapons of the Weak, Seeing like a State, The Art of not being Governed, Two Cheers for Anarchism), along with a number of other influential scholars and activists, will be addressing a conference in London on 10th and 11th September 2014. Further details of the conference and registration are here:

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will expire in 2015, with mixed results. This conference takes a social and political perspective on why development fails, and how local knowledge might inform a post-MDG environment more sensitive to those structurally disadvantaged by the global economy. Within mainstream debates there has been little room for the developmental alternatives lived by people in conditions of poverty and thus no space for exploring more critical and alternative paradigms of development to the orthodox neoliberal-MDG paradigm. This conference brings together leading critical scholars on development, and activists from the global anti-poverty, buen vivir and degrowth movements.

Speakers include:

Dr Kate Bedford, University of Kent
Amitabh Behar, Global Call to Action Against Poverty
Dr Carl Death, University of Manchester
Professor David Hulme, University of Manchester
Dr Wendy Harcourt, International Institute for Social Studies
Dr Sophie Harman, Queen Mary University of London
Dr Nora Mckeon, Building Global Democracy
Professor Philip McMichael, Cornell University
Professor Ashwani Saith, International Institute for Social Studies
Professor James C Scott, Yale University
Professor Frances Stewart, University of Oxford
Bob Thomson, Degrowth/Decroissance Canada
Dr Karen Tucker, University of Bristol
Jan Vandemoortele, former director of the Poverty Group at the United Nations Development Programme
Dr Heloise Weber, University of Queensland
Dr Aram Ziai, University of Kessel
Carlos Zorrilla, Defensa y Conservacion Ecologica de Intag

Please click here for a copy of the current programme.


Refreshments and lunch will be provided on both days, together with conference documentation.
Vegetarian options will be provided for lunch. If you have any other special dietary requirements please contact us in advance on


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Richard Alpert

12 May 2012
Culture Lab
Newcastle University
Organiser: Dr Matt Davies (

The core concept at the foundation of Cultural Studies was “hegemony.” In the wake of the rebellions of the 1960s, as political and economic systems in both the developed core and the developing periphery appeared to be more stable than expected or as reactionary regimes settled in, theorists and observers in various disciplinary idioms set out to examine the persistent ideational basis for liberal political and economic systems. These thinkers found in the concept of hegemony a powerful notion that confirmed much of what they had suspected. The idea was taken up not only in Cultural Studies proper, but also in disciplines across the Humanities and Social Sciences: in Politics and in International Relations, in Literature and Linguistics,  in Film and Television, in Geography, in Sociology, in Development Economics.

But what theoretical work does the concept of hegemony do? What conception of politics does it presuppose, and what conception of culture? Is the concept tied, ontologically, to particular kinds of political and social formations? Given that hegemony describes particular structures and ways of knowing, what are its epistemological underpinnings? And, crucially given its multi-disciplinary applications, what are the methodological implications of hegemony?

This one-day workshop for postgraduates in the North East Doctoral Training Centre will explore these questions through dialogues between our postgraduate research students and Dr Jon Beasley-Murray, author of the 2010 ground-breaking critique of cultural studies, Posthegemony: Political Theory and Latin America (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press).

Contributors to the workshop will participate in roundtable discussions with Dr Beasley-Murray and members of Newcastle University’s academic staff. Doctoral students will be asked to familiarize themselves with the arguments from Posthegemony and to prepare very short statements (maximum two sides of A4) regarding problems of method, problems with regard to hegemony, and/or problems regarding inter-disciplinarity for circulation at the workshop. These will be the basis for the day’s discussions.

Jon Beasley-Murray is a Visiting Fellow at Newcastle University, thanks to a generous grant from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. His home institution is the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, where he lectures in Latin American Studies. He has published widely on Latin American culture and politics and on contemporary political theory and philosophy. He has made some interesting contributions to Wikipedia (see, and he blogs at:


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UNEVEN DEVELOPMENT: Nature, Capital and the Production of Space


New and updated edition with a new foreword by DAVID HARVEY
“Smith provides a brilliant formulation of how the production of a particular kind of nature and space under historical capitalism is essential to the unequal development of a landscape that integrates poverty with wealth.” –– EDWARD SAID
In UNEVEN DEVELOPMENT, a classic in its field, NEIL SMITH offers the first full theory of uneven geographical development, entwining theories of space and nature with a critique of capitalism.

Featuring groundbreaking analyses of the production of nature and the politics of scale, Smith’s work anticipated many of the uneven contours that now mark neoliberal globalization.

DAVID HARVEY’S new foreword highlights the increasingly uneven nature of the globalized economy, and notes that this inequality, along with accelerating levels of urbanisation and environmental degradation, have only accelerated since the book was first published. Smith’s analysis is thus more urgent and relevant than ever.

While globalisation has not led to a weakening of state power in the political sphere, it is increasingly difficult to conceive of distinct state economies – for example by the 1980s the majority of trade across national borders took place within corporations. National and international organisations rival states in economic power – in 2007 Harvard University had more money in its bank account than the GDP of some 39 countries. Thus, Smith argues, the global system can increasingly be defined more in terms of geoeconomics than traditional geopolitics.

In recognition of the dramatic changes in capitalism and its geography over the quarter century since this volume was written, Neil Smith has updated the text with a discussion of the current crisis of neoliberalism and the rise of geoeconomics.

UNEVEN DEVELOPMENT is a radical attempt to reconstruct the politicalbasis of society, in order to produce a genuinely social geography by encouraging a revolutionary imaginary.

“A foundational text of great historical significance, constantly worthy of reappraisal…You will not be disappointed.” David Harvey

“Smith attempts no less than the integration of nature and space in the Marxian theory of capitalist development … he improves the clarity even of the arguments made in disagreement with him. His book should be widely read, used, and discussed.’ –ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING

“UNEVEN DEVELOPMENT provides a theoretical discussion of immense range – from nature through space and the economy – whereby Neil Smith extends David Harvey’s Marxist conception of the geography of capitalism” – GEOGRAPHICAL REVIEW

“One of the most important books of specifically geographical social theory to be written in the English language in the last thirty years.” – Scott Prudham, author of KNOCK ON WOOD: NATURE AS COMMODITY IN DOUGLAS-FIR COUNTY
NEIL SMITH is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography at the City University of New York and Director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics. He is author or editor of nine books that explore the broad intersection between space, nature, social theory, and history and is co-organizer of the International Critical Geography Group. His website is
ISBN: 978 1 84467 643 9 / £16.99 / Paperback / 344 pages
For more information and to buy the book visit:

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The Island


New from Haymarket Books

The Politics of Combined and Uneven Development: The Theory of Permanent Revolution

By Michael Löwy

Löwy’s book is the first attempt to analyze, in a systematic way, how the theories of uneven and combined development, and of the permanent revolution— inseparably linked—emerged in the writings of thinkers such as Karl Marx and Leon Trotsky. Such radical reflections permit us to understand modern economic development across continents as a process of ferocious change, in which “advanced” and “backward” elements fuse, come into tension, and collide—and how the resulting ruptures make it possible for the oppressed and exploited to change the world.

Michael Löwy is research director in sociology at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris. He is the author of many books, including The Theory of Revolution in the Young Marx, Romanticism Against the Tide of Modernity, and Marxism and Liberation Theology.

Trade paper | 240 pages | $17
Available from

With questions or for a review copy, contact Jim Plank (

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Call for Applications

African Programme on Rethinking Development Economics

5 – 19 May 2011
Johannesburg, South Africa

Supported by
the Department of Trade and Industry of South Africa (the dti), the French Development Agency (AFD), and the French Embassy in South Africa, with the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS)

We are pleased to announce that the fifth edition of the African Programme on Rethinking Development Economics (APORDE) will be held in Johannesburg (South Africa) from the 5th to the 19th of May 2011.

APORDE is a high-level training programme in development economics which aims to build capacity in economics and economic policy-making. The course will run for two weeks and consist of lectures and seminars taught by leading international and African economists. This call is directed at talented African, Asian and Latin American economists, policy makers and civil society activists who, if selected, will be fully funded.

We encourage everyone with an interest in development to read and distribute this call for applications. Please note that we receive many high quality applications and that, as a result, entry into APORDE will be very competitive (only 30 applicants will be selected).

APORDE is a joint initiative of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), the French Development Agency (AFD) and the French Embassy in South Africa. Alice Amsden (MIT), Thandika Mkandawire (LSE), Michel Aglietta (Institut Universitaire de France), Ha-Joon Chang (University of Cambridge) and Ben Fine (SOAS) are among the lecturers who have taught on the programme. Nicolas Pons-Vignon (CSID, Wits University) is the APORDE Course director.

For more information, visit

APORDE is being conducted in a climate when there is much greater contestation of ideas around the possible options for economic development and industrialisation than in many decades. An initiative like APORDE can make a very important contribution in offering us new insights and reflections on the critical questions of building a developmental state and mounting a serious industrial policy.

Dr. Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry, Republic of South Africa

Africa is probably the continent most affected by the poor availability of cutting-edge research and teaching in economics. While only a few African countries have experienced sustained economic development in the past 50 years, African governments and civil societies are weakly equipped to respond critically to external initiatives aimed at their development and to generate endogenous strategies. The tide is, however, gradually turning: in South Africa and in other African countries, the need for “more” (rather than merely “better”, which has often proved to mean “less”) state intervention in economic affairs is increasingly recognised.

Crucially, economic take-off appears bound to remain a pipedream unless it is premised on developmental policy; while South Africa’s DTI is leading the way with its industrial policy, few African decision makers feel equipped to design and implement such policies, a gap which APORDE aims to help filling.

APORDE will allow talented academics, policy makers and civil society representatives from Africa, Asia and Latin America to gain access to alternatives to mainstream thinking on development issues and to be equipped in a way that will foster original thinking. Participants will receive intensive high-level training and interact with some of the best development economists in the world and with other participants.

APORDE will cover essential topics in development economics, including industrial policy, inequality, poverty, financial crises and social policy. Lectures will equip participants with key information pertaining to both mainstream and critical approaches. Day lectures will last for three and a half hours, while a number of shorter lectures will also be organised. The programme of the seminar will be communicated at the beginning of 2011 and posted on the APORDE website. For information, the programmes of the first four seminars are available on

All costs – travel, accommodation, conference fee and per diem – will be covered for selected applicants.

The seminar will be held in Johannesburg from the 5th to the 19th of May 2011.

The venue will be confirmed at a later stage.

Applicants must demonstrate first-class intellectual capacity and (at least some) prior knowledge in economics, as well as proficiency in English. However, the objective of APORDE is to draw participants from a broad range of backgrounds; persons who have demonstrated exceptional capacity in their professional lives are invited to apply.

The main body of participants will be drawn from Africa, but we welcome applications from Asians and Latin Americans who have research or work experience related to Africa.

Prospective applicants should send:

* A completed application form (available on;
* An official transcript (showing courses taken and grades obtained);
* 2 reference letters, where possible 1 academic and 1 professional, which should be sent directly to <> or faxed to +27 11 836 5850;
* Proof of English proficiency for applicants whose main medium of instruction or work is not English. Results of standard English proficiency tests (e.g. TOEFL or IELTS) will be preferable, but other proof may also be accepted (e.g. a sample of written work in English).

Applications, accompanied by a covering letter indicating the applicant’s full contact details (including e-mail address and telephone numbers), should be sent to to the attention of Nicolas Pons-Vignon.

The application should actually reach Nicolas Pons-Vignon by Monday 6 December 2010 at midnight at the latest.

Incomplete or late applications will not be considered. Please note that individual acknowledgement of applications will be sent by e-mail only. Candidates will be notified by e-mail of the outcome of their applications at the latest by early March 2011.

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The Second Call for Papers for a conference next year 30 June – 2 July on Nature™ Inc? Questioning the Market Panacea in Environmental Policy and Conservation.

Please consider sending in an abstract, and/or send it on to your networks

Second Call for Papers
Nature™ Inc? Questioning the Market Panacea in Environmental Policy and Conservation

International Conference
30 June – 2 July 2011
ISS, The Hague, The Netherlands

Special guests:  Amita Baviskar (IEG, Delhi University), Nancy Peluso (University of California, Berkeley), Fander Falconi (FLACSO, Former Foreign Minister, Ecuador) and Ton Dietz (University of Leiden)

Nature is dead. Long live Nature™ Inc.! This adagio inspires many environmental policies today. In order to respond to the many environmental problems the world is facing, new and innovative methods are necessary, or so it is argued, and markets are posited as the ideal vehicle to supply these. Indeed, market forces have been finding their way into environmental policy and conservation to a degree that seemed unimaginable only a decade ago. Payments for ecosystem services, biodiversity derivatives and new conservation finance mechanisms, species banking, carbon trade and conservation 2.0 are just some of the market mechanisms that have taken a massive flight in popularity in recent years, despite, or perhaps because of the recent ‘Great Financial Crisis’.

The conference seeks to critically engage with the market panacea in environmental policy and conservation in the context of histories and recent developments in neoliberal capitalism. The conference is steeped in traditions of political economy and political ecology, in order to arrive at a deeper understanding of where environmental policies and conservation in an age of late capitalism come from, are going and what effects they have on natures and peoples.

‘Nature™ Inc’ follows a successful recent conference in Lund, Sweden, in May 2010 and several earlier similar initiatives that have shown the topic to be of great interest to academics, policy-makers and civil society. The present conference is thus meant not only to deepen and share critical knowledge on market-based environmental policies and practices and nature-society relations more generally, but also to strengthen and widen the networks enabling this objective.

 Topics include but are not limited to:
   • General trends in market-based environmental policies and instruments
   • New forms of neoliberal conservation (including web 2.0, species banking, etc)
   • Agro-food systems, the meat-industrial complex, and aquaculture
   • Agro-fuels, energy and climate change
   • The relation between conservation and land (including protected areas, etc.)
   • Financialisation of the environment
   • New social, environmental and peasant movements and left alternatives
   • Accumulation by dispossession, property regimes, and the “new” enclosures
   • Ecological imperialisms, including the recent ‘land grabs’
   • Urban and rural political ecologies and the links between them
   • Theoretical advancements in nature-society relations

Paper proposals are due 15 December 2010. Please send a 250-300 word proposal, with title, contact information, and three keywords as a Word attachment to: Proposals for complete panels are welcome.

Conference language is English. Authors will be notified by 15 January 2011. Complete papers are due by 1 April, 2011. More information on: and  
The conference is organized by the Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, together with the University of Manchester and the University of Queensland.

Conference organizing committee (OC): Bram Büscher, Murat Arsel, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Max Spoor (ISS, Erasmus University, the Netherlands) Wolfram Dressler (University of Queensland, Australia) Dan Brockington (SERG, Manchester University, UK)

Conference advisory committee (AC): Ben White (ISS, Erasmus University) Patrick Bond (University of KwaZulu Natal) Sian Sullivan (Birkbeck College) Jason W. Moore (Umeå University) Blessing J Karumbidza (Socio-Economic Rights Institute, South Africa) Eric Swyngedouw (SERG, Manchester University) Noel Castree (SERG, Manchester University) Rosaleen Duffy (SERG, Manchester University) Holly Buck (Lund University) Scott Prudham (University of Toronto) Jun Borras (ISS, Erasmus University) Dean Bavington (Nipissing University) Mark Hudson (University of Manitoba)
Jim Igoe (Dartmouth College) Dhoya Snijders (VU University Amsterdam) Caroline Seagle (VU University Amsterdam) Diana C. Gildea (Lund University) Christian Alarcon Ferrari (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences) Katja Neves (Concordia University) Roldan Muradian (Nijmegen University)

Dr. Bram Büscher
Lecturer in Environment & Sustainable Development
International Institute of Social Studies
Erasmus University
Kortenaerkade 12
2518 AX The Hague
The Netherlands
T +31 (0)70 4260 596


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When I go to work’

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