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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.
54 Episodes
In the latest episode of our ‘In Conversation’ podcast we caught up with Shamima and Alicya; two Manchester Alumni whose fashion business was recently highly commended for social innovation at the Manchester Making A Difference Awards 2020. Listen here to find out how they came up with the idea, what empowerment and sustainability means to them, their goals for the future and how studying at the GDI, in particular the Poverty, Inequality and Development pathway, helped to shape their business approach.
Seth Schindler & Tom Gillespie discuss their new research on deindustrialisation in the Global South. Seth and Tom have recently published an article on 'Deindustrialization in cities of the Global South' with Nicola Banks, Mustafa Kemal Bayırbağ, Himanshu Burte, J. Miguel Kanai & Neha Sami.
In this episode Dr Rory Horner talked to Dr Siobhán McGrath about her research into forced labour and the marketising anti-slavery. Siobhán McGrath is Assistant Professor in Human Geography at Durham University Rory Horner, Senior Lecturer in Globalisation and Political Economy in the Global Development Institute.
In this episode, GDI's Nicola Banks talks to Jelmer Kamstra and Zoe Abrahamson about the political role of NGOs and how donor funding can support those. Jelmer Kamstra has been Senior Policy Officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands in the Civil Society Division since 2015. Starting January 2020, Jelmer has taken up a new position as Senior Researcher at the Policy and Operations Evaluation Department (IOB) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Zoe Abrahamson is Bond’s senior funding adviser. She coordinates Bond’s funding stream, acting as conduit between funders and NGOs. Nicola Banks is a Senior Lecturer in Urban Development and Deputiy Managing Director of the Global Development Institute.
In this episode, Nicholas Jepson talks to Seth Schindler about his new book ‘In China’s wake: how the commodity boom transformed development strategies in the global south. In China’s Wake reveals the surprising connections among these three phenomena. Nicholas Jepson shows how Chinese demand not only transformed commodity markets but also provided resource-rich states with the financial leeway to set their own policy agendas, insulated from the constraints and pressures of capital markets and multilateral creditors such as the International Monetary Fund. Nicholas Jepson is a Hallsworth Research Fellow in Chinese Political Economy at the Global Development Institute. Seth Schindler is a Senior Lecturer in Urban Development & Transformation at the Global Development Institute.
Luis Eduardo Perez Murcia, University of Trento, recently visited the GDI to give a talk entitled 'I am afraid of dying without seeing my daughter again': Looking at the Aging-Home-Migration Nexus Scholarly research exploring the aging-migration nexus has significantly increased in the last decade. The role of home in this nexus, however, has received considerably less academic attention. Against this background, this paper explores whether and how migration shapes the experiences of home of those on the move and the elderly members of their families left behind in their countries of origin. Drawing on ethnographic research with transnational Ecuadorian and Peruvian migrants in Manchester, London and Madrid and the elder members of their families back in Ecuador and Peru, the paper argues that migration mutually shapes ideas and attitudes towards home of those who migrate and those who are left behind. An in-depth analysis of the empirical material reveals that many of those elderly left behind struggle to feel at home largely because they experience isolation and even abandonment. Their struggles for home tend to be accentuated when they perceived that the end of their lives is approaching. On the side of those who are on the move, attitudes towards home are often shaped by the sense of not being able to look after the elder members of their families left behind or even visiting them. In some cases, especially for those who work caring after the elderly in their transnational settings, a sense of regret becomes part of their everyday experiences of home because strangers or nobody looks after their own parents and grandparents in their countries of origin. Those who could not attend their parents and grandparents’ funerals tend to see their sense of home irreversibly affected. The presentation ends by discussing how a material and symbolic notion of home may help to advance contemporary debates on ageing and migration.
Kaxton Siu recently visited the Global Development Institute to discuss his new forthcoming book 'Chinese Migrant Workers and Employer Domination: Comparisons with Hong Kong and Vietnam’. Kaxton Siu is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Applied Social Sciences, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong. This talk explores three major changes in the circumstances of the migrant working class in south China over the past three decades, from historical and comparative perspectives. It examines the rise of a male migrant working population in the export industries, a shift in material and social lives of migrant workers, and the emergence of a new non-coercive factory regime in the industries. Drawing on fieldwork regarding Hong Kong-invested garment factories in south China, Hong Kong and Vietnam, alongside factory-gate surveys in China and Vietnam, this talk examines how and why the circumstances of workers in these localities are dissimilar even when under the same type of factory ownership. In analyzing workers’ lives within and outside factories, and the expansion of global capitalism in East and Southeast Asia, the talk contributes to research on production politics and everyday life practice, and an understanding of how global and local forces interact.
In this talk, Dr Glennerster discusses how technology has driven improvements in income and health in poor countries, why there is too little innovation designed to meet the needs of the poor, and the promise of the data revolution.
In this episode, Raquel Rolnik talked to Tom Gillespie and Isaac Rose about the financialisation of housing and her new book 'Urban Warfare: housing under the empire of finance'. Raquel Rolnik is a professor of Urban Planning at the University of São Paulo. She was National Secretary for Urban Programmes of the Brazilian Ministry of Cities (2003–2007). From 2008 to 2014, she held the mandate of UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing. Tom Gillespie is Lecturer in International Development at the Global Development Institute.  Isaac Rose is a a campaign coordinator at Greater Manchester Housing Action.
Professor Rhys Jenkins talks to GDI Researcher Dr Nick Jepson about China’s growing economic involvement in Africa and Latin America and his book 'How China is Reshaping the Global Economy: Development Impacts in Africa and Latin America'
Professor Stephanie Barrientos discusses her new book 'Gender and Work: Capturing the Gains in Global Value Chains' Building on years of detailed empirical research across different industries and in several countries, Barrientos examines how global values chains are reshaping the gender profile of work across many middle- and low-income countries. Gendered patterns of work in these global value chains can both relegate women workers to poorly paid and unrecognised labour or lead to economic empowerment and enhanced worker rights.
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 Africa While 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 Cambodia Cambodia 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.
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.
We have been taught to understand aid as a temporary injection of support for struggling countries. This is wrong. It should be seen as a permanent fixture, as part of continued investment in global public goods and internationally agreed objectives. This realisation will have major implications for how we raise and manage funds, and how we communicate to different audiences.
Comments (1)


Great podcast!

Apr 10th
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