Annual conference: Background to the conference

Global Development as Relationship: Dependence, Interdependence or Divide?

7th - 8th September 2015, University of Bath

Keynote speakers confirmed:  Professor James Ferguson, Stanford University and Professor Branko Milanovic, City University of New York


Download the Call for Papers

Download the Abstract Submission Guidelines

Background to the Conference

The Development Studies Association Conference in 2015 takes as its theme the forms of relationship that are valued, enacted and denied through current processes of international development. Ebola, political violence, migration, trade and climate change all assert our global interdependence, while structures of governance still tend to assume the predominance of nation state sovereignty.  Contemporary growth processes have generated prosperity for many, great wealth for some and exceptional inequality. Their neo-liberal thrust valorises independence and generates increasing populations whose labour appears either surplus or highly insecure, and so rely on forms of social dependence to secure a basic livelihood.  Alongside these non-inclusive growth processes new communication technologies have become an important means through which relationships are enacted, reconfiguring notions of nationality, community, neighbourhood, family and personal identity.

 The conference is particularly keen to invite panels which address this theme, for example:

Theory:  Is there a new grand narrative? Can a focus on relationality support a new conception of global transformation which supersedes both modernization and dependency with a genuinely planetary vision? 

Processes: What kinds of social, economic, cultural, political and environmental processes are driving and being generated through the dynamics within global and local relationships?  What forms of agency are evident and what are the structural constraints? How are policy and governance implicated in the formation, mediation and rupture of relationships?

Methods: What kinds of methodologies and methods are required to explore the forms of relationship which characterise current development processes?  Can measures and metrics capture relationality or are mixed methods essential? What is the role for critical theory in developing new methodologies? Is the co-production of knowledge essential for development policy and action?

Scholarship and practice:  What kinds of relationship exist between scholars of development and different development actors?  How do these affect the kinds of knowledge that are produced, both within and about development? Does the generation of ‘evidence' require a positivist framing of research or can constructivist scholarship influence policy and practice?

Policies: Are the Sustainable Development Goals a shift towards recognising the relationality of all public action or simply a license for continued neo-liberal growth? Does ‘inclusive growth' need to better engage with the relationality of growth processes and outcomes? Is the global rise of social protection programmes evidence of our interdependence?

In addition we welcome applications for panels or papers on other topics from:

(i)                  Panels convened by DSA study groups

(ii)                Panels convened by research programmes/networks

(iii)               Papers from individuals (that have reached working paper standard). 

(iv)              Poster presentations (also, this may be offered to papers that cannot be fitted in the presentations timetable).


Abstract submission

All proposals for panels, individual or jointly authored papers and posters must be submitted by Tuesday 5th May

To this end, please click HERE for detailed instructions on the submission process and deadlines.

Key dates:

o        All abstracts should be submitted (including complete panel proposals) by Tuesday 5th May

o        All abstracts should be submitted to and follow the abstract submission guidelines [LINK]. .

o        Authors of standalone papers will be notified by Friday 29th May 2015.

o        Registration deadline for presenters: Friday 3rd July 2015

Themed Panels

Panels can be arranged by an individual, a DSA Study Group, or a group of Panel Convenors. We can offer each Panel a maximum of two sessions (subject to negotiation). Panel Convenors will be expected to take ownership of their Panels in terms of quality, ensuring panellists register for the conference by 3rd July and post conference publication. The latter could take several forms and we strongly encourage submission to the Journal of International Development - see below.

Panels should also have a Panel Concept Note which specifies the theme and rationale and provides an overview of its (proposed) content.

Key dates:

o        Complete panel proposals which include a full set of abstracts should be submitted by Tuesday 5th May

o        All abstracts should be submitted to and follow the abstract submission guidelines [LINK]. .

o        Panel convenors will be notified by Friday 22nd May 2015.

o        Registration deadline for presenters: Friday 3rd July 2015

Please see the detailed submission guidelines available which can be downloaded from

Individual or Jointly Authored Papers and Posters

In addition to ‘themed' panel sessions, there will be ‘open' parallel streams. We will attempt to group papers for a best thematic fit as far as possible. Abstracts for this category of papers will be quality reviewed by the Conference Review Team.  

Poster presentations are encouraged.  Poster opportunities may also be offered to papers that cannot be fitted in the open sessions timetable.


Journal of International Development Special Issue

Each year we aim to publish some of the papers for the Conference in the Journal of International Development.

For those wishing their papers to be considered for publication in the Conference Special Edition of the Journal of International Development FULL PAPERS will need to be received by 3rd July 2015. Minor amendments will be possible after the Conference to reflect discussion.

  • Individual papers will be eligible for publication in a Special Edition of the Journal of International Development.
  • In some cases, a panel convenor and contributors may wish to write a joint thematic review paper following the conference, for consideration in the Special Issue of JID
  • In addition, certain panel topics may be suitable for groups of papers to be published as ‘Policy Fora' in JID or other journals.

Bursary Awards and Prizes

Please note that there will be no bursary or travel awards for this year's Annual Conference.

Conference Fee

Registration will be open shortly. Early Bird deadline July 3rd 2015

To attend the conference, participants must be members of the DSA at the time of the Conference. Individual membership is £60 per year.  Concessionary membership is £30 per year.

Full delegate rates:

Early bird rate before 3rd July

Rate after 3rd July

Full delegate (two day rate)



Monday afternoon attendance only



Tuesday all day attendance only



Student concessionary rates:



Student (two day rate)



Student  - Monday  only



Student - Tuesday only  






Monday evening conference dinner



Accommodation: The conference will start at 1pm on Monday 7th September and end at 6pm on Tuesday 8th September.  Bed and Breakfast accommodation will be available at £40 and £60 per night in University accommodation and should be booked by Friday 10th July.  Accommodation cannot be guaranteed after this date.  Accommodation is also available at the University on the weekend before the conference.

Organising Committee and Contact

The organising committee for the conference is: David Hulme, University of Manchester; Susan Johnson, Sarah White, University of Bath; and Michael Wright, Bond.

Information, Queries and Submissions should be directed in the first instance to:

Details are also available on the following websites:



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