DSA2018: Global inequalities
University of Manchester, 27-29th June
Global inequalities is the central theme of DSA2018 in Manchester, which marks the DSA’s 40th anniversary and 60 years of development studies at the University of Manchester.
Focusing on global inequalities challenges the traditional geographies of development, and demands investigation of the power relations that generate wealth and poverty within and between countries and regions. It also emphasises the many dimensions of inequality, including gender, class, climate, race and ethnicity, region, nationality, citizenship status, age, (dis)ability, sexuality, and religion and the ways these reinforce or counteract each other.
The conference invites both academic and practitioner reflections on global inequalities, as a subject of research, an issue for action and as a lens through which to approach the world. How does the rhetoric of ‘shared prosperity’ and the recognition of inequalities within the SDGs make a difference in practice? Which forms of inequality are highlighted, and which are thrown into shadow? What forms of action and resistance, at what levels, and by whom, can best combat global inequalities? What scope is there for global level action on trade talks, restrictions on financial capital and carbon emissions, or upgrading workers’ rights within global value chains? When does a global focus sharpen awareness of inequalities, and when is a national or local perspective demanded? As political populism has grown in an era of highly uneven globalisation, what chances are there for establishing a new politics of social justice that can tackle inequalities at multiple spatial levels, or are there inevitable trade-offs between tackling national and global inequalities?
Thinking in terms of inequality presents a number of challenges for the production and communication of development knowledge: what are the facts of inequality, and how do we establish them? How do methods used in research and evaluation shape the inequalities agenda? Is it possible to speak of difference without inequality? How can knowledge about global inequality be most effectively communicated? Who speaks, how, on what terms and to whom? Does an emphasis on global inequalities challenge or augment established traditions of analysis in development studies? How can work on inequalities in other disciplines complement and strengthen our perspectives, and what can development studies contribute to tackling inequalities as a major global challenge? Is there a sense that ‘inequality fatigue’ has set in, perhaps through the overuse of inequality rhetoric or the co-optation of the language of inequality by vested interests?