DSA PhD Thesis Prize 2022 winner
Ikuno Naka, of the Oxford Department of International Development, is awarded the inaugural 2022 DSA PhD Thesis Prize.
The launch of the DSA PhD Thesis Prize in 2022 recognises the work of PhD students working in the field of international development, development studies and development economics. Awarded annually, along with The DSA Masters Dissertation Prize, this prize will raise the profile of the contributions made to the development studies community by students and early career researchers.
The winner of the inaugural DSA Thesis Prize is Ikuno Naka, of the Oxford Department of International Development, for her thesis entitled: The “Realty” of Cochin: from the material to the spectacular, a story of India’s emerging city’.
The judging panel commented that Ikuno’s thesis:
“This is a highly original thesis, using the urban development of Cochin’s housing as point from which to explore ‘speculative tournaments of accumulation’ and imagination around real estate; and the way these become ideas of what Cochin and individual inhabitants futures will be. In doing so, it explores the geographies of speculative capital accumulation and uses that to understand how people conceptualise their, and their city’s future, and through that ideas around what it means to be developed, to be modern and to achieve one’s dreams. It is an innovative and distinctive approach and set of questions, based on an ethnographic approach which reaps dividends in the richness of the evidence. What makes this thesis so powerful is the way that it has been written; the ethnographic, active participant research approach which provides the data; and the analysis which looks beyond the physical capital speculation and accumulation to what it tells us about how people conceptualise their future aspirations, hopes and understandings of (urban) development. It is written in a highly distinctive, almost literary style, which combined with excellent research skills and analysis, takes it to the next level.”
Highly commended thesis
There were also two highly commended entries in the 2022 DSA PhD thesis Prize: Arie Ruhyanto from IDD, University of Birmingham and Elizabeth Storer from the Department of International Development, LSE.
The judging panel made the following comments on Ruhyanto’s thesis:
“This is a very good thesis which makes a significant contribution to the literature and theory on state and governance, state legitimacy, and local government. Through its analysis of the literature, and the primary research on the case study, it makes a strong argument for understanding the state through not only a traditional Weberian institutional lens, but also as a creation and reflection of social relations. State legitimacy is therefore presented in a highly complex way, and the exploration of territorial administrative reform of local governance adds to our understanding of state legitimacy without undermining the complexity of the argument.”
The panel was impressed by Storer’s thesis:
“This original and empirically-rich study explores “everyday” processes of social repair in contemporary West Nile (NW Uganda), focusing on dynamics of healing and spiritual governance/ordering among Lugbara communities. The thesis situates itself within the scholarly and policy/practice literature on transitional justice – and “everyday” peace. It makes a highly original and reflective critique of Western “template”-style approaches. It draws on an extensive set of ethnographic data collected during 3 phases of fieldwork, totalling 14 months in total. This allows for the development of a rich and nuanced explanation of a range of healing processes and dynamics across space and time. Conceptually, the study works hard to critically unpack and engage with terms and ideas deriving from Lugbara culture and society. Methodologically, the study is detailed and robust, with significant attention to the author’s positionality.”
The DSA PhD Thesis Prize
Every year, all Development Studies and Economics departments in the UK are invited to submit one PhD thesis for consideration the DSA PhD Thesis Prize. This year nominations were accepted during early 2022. We asked all the Heads of Centres of DSA affiliated institutions in the UK to nominate the highest scoring/ most promising PhD thesis in international development or related subject from their department(s) from a student who graduated in 2021. Only PhDs by monograph or papers were eligible for consideration, not PhDs by publications or professional doctorates. The nominations were evaluated by an academic panel from the DSA. Decisions were made in early May 2022 and the winner and their department notified.
For further information contact:
Laura Roberts, DSA Communications Manager
The DSA is committed to supporting the development of students and early career researchers. Find out more about what the DSA offers students and early career researchers on our website.
About the DSA
The Development Studies Association (DSA) is a UK based membership organisation for all those studying, researching and teaching in the field of global development. The DSA promotes and advances international development as a field of study, research and action. We aim to deepen understanding of how global poverty, inequalities, conflict and environmental destruction are produced, sustained and may be overcome, and how a better future may be advanced. The DSA is a membership organisation, with both individual and institutional members, and is wholly funded through its membership premiums and activities.