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Global Development Institute podcast

Author: Global Development Institute

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We’re the Global Development Institute at The University of Manchester: where critical thinking meets social justice. Each episode we will bring you the latest thinking, insights and debate in development studies.
50 Episodes
In this episode, Diana Mitlin talks to former Egyptian Minister Laila Iskander about her career, recycling and informal settlements in Egypt.Laila Iskander served as Minister for the Environment and Minister for Urban Renewal and Informal Settlements in Egypt. She has worked as a researcher, speaker and consultant with governmental and international agencies as well as with the private sector in the fields of gender, education and development, environment, child labour and governance. Her consultation work encompasses grassroots' issues and policy matters. She received the Goldman Environmental Prize, also known as the 'Green Nobel', for her work with the Zabbaleen garbage collectors of Cairo.Diana Mitlin is Professor of Global Urbanism and Managing Director of the Global Development Institute.
The Global Development Institute and the Post Crash Economics Society is pleased to host Prof Bina Agarwal part of the GDI Lecture Series, talking about: Agrarian crisis and institutional innovation: Can group farming provide an answer?In efforts by developing countries to address agrarian distress arising from persisting rural poverty, unviable land holdings, and climate change, little attention has been paid to the institutional transformation of agriculture. The debate on farm types has focused mainly on small family farms vs. large commercial farms. Here experiments in two Indian states—Kerala and Telangana—stand out for their innovative institutional form, namely group farming by women (involving pooling land, labour and capital and cultivating jointly). Can this provide an alternative model?Based on her primary surveys, Prof. Bina Agarwal provides some answers, comparing the economic outcomes of group and individual family farms, as well as outlining the impact on social and political empowerment.
The Global Development Institute is pleased to present Prof Franklin Obeng-Odoom, University of Helsinki, talking about: Property, institutions, and social stratification in AfricaWhile it is intrinsically important to explain and, ultimately, try to address social stratification in Africa, these aspirations have not yet been satisfactorily executed. Human capital explanations can be enticing, especially when they appear to explain the meteoric rise of the Asian Tigers in terms of their so-called cultures of hard work. Attempting to explain Africa’s unequal position in the world system this way is common, as is conceptualising the problem in terms of the absence of physical capital and the presence, or dominance, of natural resources. In turn, it is quite usual to posit the need to reduce the transaction costs of transnational corporations, which presumably work to resolve the challenges of development in Africa. In practice, however, neither African culture, poor human capital, inadequate physical capital, nor the natural resource curse explains Africa’s underdevelopment. None of these can sufficiently explain the startling economic inequalities in Africa between various social groups, nor those between Africa and the rest of the world. In this regard, the idea that certain cultures of land either hinder, or would enable ‘Africa’s catch up’, are also mistaken. Although the reverse case – that African cultures are pristine – is sometimes used to counter this central thesis, it is similarly unconvincing. The spectre of Manicheanism, that is, expressing the African condition according to a dichotomy of either cultural pessimism or cultural triumphalism, is limiting.Franklin Obeng-Odoom is with Development Studies at the University of Helsinki, where he is Associate Professor of Sustainability Science. He is also a Member of the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, where he leads the Social Sustainability of Urban Transformations in the Global South theme. Previously, he taught at various universities in Australia, including the University of Technology Sydney where he was Director of Higher Degree Research Programmes.
The Global Development Institute is pleased to present Prof Kate Brickell, Royal Holloway, University of London, talking about: Blood Bricks: Untold Stories of Modern Slavery and Climate Change from CambodiaCambodia is in the midst of a construction boom. The building of office blocks, factories, condominiums, housing estates, hotels, and shopping malls is pushing its capital city upwards. But this vertical drive into the skies, and the country’s status as one of Asia’s fastest growing economies, hides a darker side to Phnom Penh’s ascent. Building projects demand bricks in large quantities and there is a profitable domestic brick production industry using multi-generational workforces of debt-bonded adults and children to supply them.Moving from the city, to the brick kiln, and finally back to the rural villages once called home, the talk traces how urban ‘development’ is built on unsustainable levels of debt taken on by rural families struggling to farm in one of the most climate vulnerable countries in the world. Phnom Penh is being built not only on the foundation of blood bricks, but also climate change as a key driver of debt and entry into modern slavery in brick kilns. Blood bricks embody the converging traumas of modern slavery and climate change in our urban age.The study was co-funded by the Economic and Social Research Council & Department for International Development. For more information see
In this episode Chris Jordan, GDI’s Communications & impact Manager, talks to social assistance expert Professor Armando Barrientos. They discuss why Armando decided to specialise in social assistance and how it has changed over the last 20 years. Professor Barrientos also explains his new social assistance explorer which is the first database to bring together data on low and middle income countries and allow researchers to study and compare programmes at a cross-national, regional and global basis. Finally Armando looks forward to how he thinks social assistance will develop over the next 5 to 10 years.
Listen to our lecture from Professor Stephan Haggard who discussed development states.The concept of the developmental state emerged to explain the rapid growth of East Asia in the postwar period. Yet the developmental state literature also offered a heterodox theoretical approach to growth. Arguing for the distinctive features of developmental states, its proponents emphasised the role of government intervention and industrial policy as well as the significance of strong states and particular social coalitions. Comparative analysis explored the East Asian developmental states to countries that were decidedly not developmentalist, thus contributing to our historical understanding of long-run growth. Prof. Haggard provides a critical but sympathetic overview of this literature and ends with a look forward at the possibilities for developmentalist approaches, in both the advanced industrial states and developing world.
Moira V. Faul, Université de Genève, Switzerland and Jordan Tchilingirian, University of Bath, talk about 'What social network analysis can tell us about multi-stakeholder partnerships'The recent expansion from multilateral cooperation among relatively homogeneous actors (states) to multistakeholder arrangements prioritises the inclusion of non-state actors in global governance. Thus, a multiplicity of heterogeneous stakeholders are mobilised into new, multi-stakeholder, ‘spaces’ between their home fields. Yet this central feature of the multi-stakeholder phenomenon is mainly overlooked and under-theorised. This article extends the current multi-stakeholder governance literature by theorising multi-stakeholder global governance as a space between fields. Theorising multi stakeholder governance as a space between fields draws attention to the co-existing dynamics that pull stakeholders back towards their home fields (dissociative) and also towards the space between fields (integrative). We approach theory building with three preliminary hypotheses drawing on literatures in the multi-stakeholder global governance of climate, education and health. The hypotheses consider dissociative dynamics (focused on the interaction of multi-stakeholder arrangements with stakeholders’ home fields); integrative dynamics (focused on the ways in which multi-stakeholder interactions affect global governance); and how these may affect the construction of the objects of global governance (sustainable development in this instance). Our theorisation of multi-stakeholder global governance as a ‘space between fields’ explains multi stakeholder governance as an essentially inter-field, inter-discursive and inter-personal phenomenon, which holds consequences for both global governance and sustainable development.
Rt. Hon Helen Clark, former Administrator of UNDP and former Prime Minister of New Zealand presents the Global Development Institute Annual Lecture. Helen Clark addresses the issues of women's leadership and gender equality and their importance to a sustainable world.Helen Clark has been a political leader for more than 40 years; she held the post of first elected female Prime Minister of New Zealand for nine years and was the first female Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme. A key focus of her career has been the empowerment of women and leadership at all levels. According to the World Bank, 155 countries have at least one law that discriminates against women. Given the extent of unpaid work and care burdens, violence against women and gender pay gaps, Clark says women’s leadership is urgently needed to create a more equal world. She will draw on her own experiences in senior leadership but also her observations of women being leaders at all levels around the world and how this can create a more sustainable and just future.
As part of her visit to the Global Development Institute Rt Hon Helen Clark sat down with Prof Uma Kothari to discuss her career, the UN, Hillary Clinton and intersectionality. Helen Clark was Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1999 to 2008, and was the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme from 2009 to 2017.
Professor Lord Nicholas Stern, LSE and Professor Himanshu, Jawaharlal Nehru UniversityDevelopment economics is about understanding how and why lives change. Drawing on seven decades of detailed data collection How Lives Change: Palanpur, India, and Development Economics studies a single village in a crucially important country to illuminate the drivers of these changes, why some people do better or worse than others, and what influences mobility and inequality.Against a backdrop of real economic growth and structural transformation, this book shows that human development outcomes have shown only weak progress and remain stubbornly resistant to change.
Comments (1)


Great podcast!

Apr 10th
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