Welcome to Development Studies Association
The Development Studies Association is the UK's learned society and professional body for academic teaching and research, policy and practice in the field of international development.
While the annual conference is a principal focus for the association, the DSA is active throughout the year through its many Study Groups. All those involved in development whether as teachers, researchers, consultants or practitioners, are welcome to join both the Study Groups and the DSA itself.
For all the DSA members' news visit our new set of News pages.
Thought for the Month
As we approach the turn of the year, it seems ever more clear that we face major challenges. Is it just me, or just the doldrums of UK politics, or do the bright visions of the SDGs already seem fantastical in their imagination of a world much as we have known it, but better? The coincidence of NATO meeting in London, with its paradoxical narrative of militarisation as security, and the COP25 meeting in Madrid, which foregrounds our planetary need to find ways to live together better, seem to encapsulate the contradictory times in which we are living.
A recent presentation from one of my colleagues showed how the world map would look if territory were presented according to the size of carbon emissions, now and throughout history. As you can imagine, North America and Western Europe became grotesquely inflated. I reflected that development studies might similarly find itself massively bloated, if there were a graphical way to represent the carbon footprint of disciplines against the number of professionals or the size of the academic activity associated with them. As someone in our recent meeting of Heads of Development Studies Centres remarked, along with decolonisation, climate change constitutes a fundamental challenge for our how we conceive of our discipline and how we pursue it in practice. On the positive side, a carbon footprint by discipline might at last produce a league table in which the arts, humanities and social sciences win out, with some at least of the STEM subjects languishing in the nether regions!
Traditionally by the Christian calendar we are in the season of Advent. This is a period for reflecting on the last things and the end of time. But it is also a season of waiting, and of hoping. Another of my colleagues talks about ‘the art of organising hope.’ My wish for all of us as we leave 2019 and look forward to 2020 is that we get better at practising that art.
Best wishes to you all,