Empowerment and Accountability in Messy Places. Need your advice on Nigeria, Pakistan, Myanmar and Mozambique.

Duncan Green - June 7, 2017

My post-book research plans are shaping up, so it’s time to ask for your advice. As well as the work I blogged about recently on Public Authority in fragile/conflict-affected settings, I’m doing some research with Oxfam and Itad on how ‘adaptive management’ plays out in those same settings. Here’s the blurb: ‘There is much hype and attention given to new models of development programming that …

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A lesson on power and the abstruse (or a love-peeve relationship Part 2)

Duncan Green - December 7, 2016

Duly provoked by yesterday’s assault on IDS’ use of language, John Gaventa responds with a really nice story/rebuttal As ever, we are delighted to see Duncan Green’s interesting and incisive blog on the new IDS Bulletin on Power, Poverty and Inequality. In talking about what he calls his ‘love – peeve’ relationship with IDS, Duncan raises important questions of language in how we discuss power, …

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Power, Poverty and Inequality: a ‘love-peeve’ new IDS bulletin

Duncan Green - December 6, 2016

I have something of a love-hate relationship with the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in Brighton, or more accurately, a love-peeve. I love the topics, the commitment to bottom-up approaches, and the intellectual leadership IDS has shown over the years on a whole range of issues dear to my heart. The peeve stems from its preference for abstruse language and reluctance to commit to the …

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What can violence/conflict people learn from the governance debate (and vice versa)? Report back on a day discussing new IDS research

Duncan Green - November 18, 2015

I recently spent a day among conflict wonks (a thoroughly charming and unscary group) to discuss IDS’ research programme on Addressing and Mitigating Violence. There are piles of case studies and thematic papers on the website (here’s a collection of abstracts); this seminar was part of bringing them all together into some kind of overarching narrative. The starting point for the programme was the World …

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Prices that bounce – Naomi Hossain on the human face of the food crisis

admin - September 14, 2012

Oxfam and IDS are starting work on Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility, a 4 year project combining qualitative and quantitative methods to track the human impact in communities in 10 countries, building on the methodology behind our 2011 report, Living on a Spike. Richard King at Oxfam and Naomi Hossain at IDS are running the project. Here, Naomi (right) reports back on …

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Theories of (climate) change and a nice song about complex causal chains……

admin - March 6, 2012

Spent a happy half day with the climate change team at IDS last week, at the invitation of the team leader Matthew Lockwood, who besides being a climate change star (see his Political Climate blog), wrote The State They’re In, a brilliant book on the politics of African development. We were exploring the theories of change (explicit and implicit) that underpin their work, and the conversation …

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Where has the social protection debate got to? What's still missing?

admin - April 28, 2011

I always find debates around social protection strangely slippery. The language is fuzzy, the boundaries vague (what’s the difference between social protection and social policy? Depends who you ask). So a couple of weeks ago, I was secretly appalled when asked to give a 5 minute blogger’s input to a big IDS conference on ‘Social Protection for Social Justice’. Luckily I’m an early riser, so …

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Social protection – have aid agencies got it wrong?

admin - June 24, 2010

‘Has social protection in sub-Saharan Africa lost its way?’ asks a brilliant new paper from a consortium of thinktanks, including IDS and ODI. Their overall finding is that donors’ preference for evidence and pilots, and lack of engagement with national political realities, have undermined their impact. Hard to summarize – it’s a treasure trove – but here are some highlights: Where are we at? ‘The …

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Some big development brains ask 'what's next?'

admin - March 10, 2010

The Institute for Development Studies is a Good Thing. Located on the brutal 60s campus of the University of Sussex near Brighton, its gurus like Robert Chambers and Hans Singer have educated and inspired generations of Masters and PhD students, who then scattered to every corner of the aid industry and beyond (diplomats, politicians etc). I was down there last week and sat in on …

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