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Global Development Institute podcast

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49 Episodes
Lecture: Franklin Obeng-Odoom on Property, institutions, and social stratification in Africa
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.
Lecture: Katherine Brickell on blood bricks: modern slavery & climate change in Cambodia
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
Lecture: Faul & Tchilingirian on social network analysis & multi-stakeholder partnerships
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.
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