The main objectives of this seminar are to provide a critical introduction to contemporary social science debates about development and to explore their relevance for the practice for those working within the development “industry”. The seminar aims to give the student a broad understanding of the issues and approaches which have dominated the field since the mid-twentieth century within an historical and theoretical framework. Through an in depth reading of key texts, it is hoped that students will develop their critical and analytical skills in order to evaluate the highly contradictory and contentious debates that characterise the field. The seminar will explore some of the dominant myths of development and the underlying Eurocentric nature of much of the analysis. Finally, the seminar will try to identify alternative approaches in both theorising and practice as possible ways forward to addressing the glaringly unequal distribution of power and resources at the global level.
The seminars will consist of discussions based on the assigned readings for each theme or topic. Everyone is required to read the assigned texts in advance and to be prepared to discuss them in the seminar. A copy of these readings will be available in the Information Centre behind the desk. Please make sure that the original is returned promptly to the folder to facilitate access for all of the participants.
You will be expected to research and write a 5,000 word paper on a subject related to the seminar themes and discussions. One possible suggestion is that you undertake a critical analysis of the recent White Paper on Irish Aid (2006), using the conceptual and critical insights gained from the seminar readings and discussions. Other possibilities are to select a particular school, approach, or author for in depth consideration. The paper should be of high quality and express an original point of view. The completed typed version in two copies of your seminar paper must be submitted according to the agreed departmental deadlines. Submission deadlines are strictly adhered to. In the previous number of years, a number of these postgraduate seminar papers have been presented at the annual May conference of the Sociological Association of Ireland. I would encourage you to set this as your goal.
Note: I would like to acknowledge that the above postgraduate seminar in both its content and its approach is the product of the collective work of myself and the late Vincent Tucker during the years, 1994-97. While we no longer are graced by the bodily presence of Vincent, I hope that his spirit, dedication, humour, intellect and commitment will continue to inspire us in our exploration of both development theory and practice.
Setting the Scene: Development Theory and Practice from a Critical Perspective:
Tucker, Vincent, “The Myth of Development: A Critique of a Eurocentric Discourse” in Critical Development Theory: Contributions to a New Paradigm, ed. by Ronaldo Munck and Denis O’Hearn, London & New York, Zed, 1999: 1-26.
___________, “Introduction: A Cultural Perspective on Development” in Cultural Perspectives on Development, ed. by V. Tucker, London & Portland, Or., Frank Cass/EADI, 1997: 36-55. (on-line in The European Journal of Development Research, 8 (2), 1996: 1-21)
Perrons, Diane, “Reintegrating Production and Consumption, or Why Political Economy Still Matters” in Critical Development Theory: Contributions to a New Paradigm, op. cit., pp. 91-112.
The Vernacular World:
Sahlins, Marshall, “The Original Affluent Society” in The Post-Development Reader, ed. by Majid Rahnema with Victoria Bawtree, London & New Jersey/Dhaka/Halifax/Cape Town, Zed/University Press/Fernwood/David Philip, 1997: 3-21.
Norberg-Hodge, Helena, “Learning from Ladakh”, ibid., pp. 22-9.
Dahl, Gudrun and Megerssa, Gemetchu, “The Spiral of the Ram’s Horn: Boran Concepts of Development”, ibid., pp. 51-62.
From the Belly of the Beast
Schor, Juliet, The Overworked American. The Unexpected Decline of Leisure, New York, Basic Books, 1992. (Chpt. 5, The Insidious Cycle of Work-and-Spend; Chpt. 6, Exiting the Squirrel Cage).
___________, The Overspent American. Why We Want What We Don’t Need, New York, Harper Perennial, 1998: 1-42.
The Power and Lure of the West: The Ideological/Psychological Dimension:
Nandy, Ashis, “Colonization of the Mind” in The Post-Development Reader, op. cit., pp. 168-78.
Hooks, bell, “Bell Hooks Speaking about Paulo Freire- The Man, His Work” in Paulo Freire. A Critical Encounter, ed. by Peter McLaren and Peter Leonard, London & New York, Routledge, 1993: 146-54.
Shrestha, Nanda, “Becoming a Development Category” in Power of Development, ed. by Jonathan Crush, London & New York, Routledge, 1995: 266-77.
Critical Writing Exercise
For this seminar, each participant is asked to write a four page critical summary of the readings of the first four seminars. These short papers are circulated to all students participating in the seminar in advance of the seminar in order to facilitate discussion.
Metatheories of Development: Modernisation
Rostow, W.W., The Stages of Economic Growth. A Non-Communist Manifesto, Cambridge, Cambridge UP, 1960, 3rd. ed., 1990: ix-16. (You need to read the introduction only)
Frank, Andre Gunder, Sociology of Development and Underdevelopment of Sociology, London, Pluto, 1971.
Metatheories of Development: Underdevelopment and Dependency:
Frank, Andre Gunder, “The Underdevelopment of Development” in The Underdevelopment of Development. Essays in Honor of Andre Gunder Frank, ed. by Sing Chew and Robert Denemark, Thousand Oaks, Sage, 1996: 17-55.
Metatheories of Development: World Systems Analysis:
Wallerstein, Immanuel, “The Rise and Future Demise of World-Systems Analysis” in The End of the World As We Know It. Social Science for the Twenty-First Century, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota P., 1999: 192-201.
___________, “World System Versus World-Systems: A Critique”, Critique of Anthropology, 2, 1991: 189-94.
The 1980s: Crisis in Theory and Practice?:
Schuurman, Frans, “Introduction: Development Theory in the 1990s” in Beyond the Impasse. New Directions in Development Theory, ed. by Frans Schuurman, London & New Jersey, Zed, 1993: 1-32, 36-48.
Booth, David, “Development Research: From Impasse to a New Agenda”, ibid., pp. 49-76.
Brass, Tom, “Old Conservatism in ‘New’ Clothes”, Journal of Peasant Studies, 22 (3), 1995: 515-40.
Out of the Impasse?: the Actor-Oriented Approach:
Long, Norman, “From Paradigm Lost to Paradigm Regained?” in Battlefields of Knowledge. The Interlocking of Theory and Practice in Social Research and Development, ed. by Norman Long & Ann Long, London & New York, Routledge, 1992: 16-46.
Arce, Alberto and Long, Norman, “The Dynamics of Knowledge. Interfaces between Bureaucrats and Peasants”, ibid., pp. 211-46.
Alternative Visions and Voices: The Gender Dimension:
Townsend, Janet, “Gender Studies: Whose Agenda?” in Beyond the Impasse. New Directions in Development Theory, op. cit., pp. 169-86.
Townsend, Janet et. al., Women and Power: Fighting Patriarchies and Poverty, London & New York, Zed, 1999. (Introduction by Janet Townsend and Emma Zapata and Chpt. 2 Empowerment Matters: Understanding Power by Janet Townsend with other authors)
Parpart, Jane, “Post-Modernism, Gender and Development” in Power of Development, op. cit., pp. 253-65.
Pease, Bob and Pringle, Keith, “Introduction: Studying Men’s Practices and Gender Relations in a Global Context” in A Man’s World? Changing Men’s Practices in a Globalized World, ed. by B. Pease and K. Pringle, London & New York, Zed, 2001: 1-17 as well as “Afterword: A Man’s World? Rethinking Commonality and Diversity in Men’s Practices”, ibid., pp. 245-52.
XII Alternative Visions and Voices: A Voice from the South:
Sinha, Vineeta, “Reconceptualizing the Social Sciences in Non-Western Settings: Challenges and Dilemmas”, Southeast Asian Journal of Social Science, 25 (1), 1997: 167-81.
___________, “Decentring Social Sciences in Practice through Individual Acts and Choices”, Current Sociology, 51 (1), 2003: 7-26. (on-line)
A useful general introduction to development theory and practice is:
Challenging Global Inequality. Development Theory and Practice in the 21st Century by Alastair Greig, David Hulme and Mark Turner, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. Copies of this text are in John Smith Book Shop.
Sociology of Sustainable Development Seminar
SC6631 / SC7631
Dr. Gerard Mullally
A shift in register in environmental discourses in the late 1980s from environmental threat to sustainable development marked an official recognition that environmental problems are fundamentally social problems, but are also simultaneously global problems too (Szerszynski, Lash and Wynne 1996; Beck 1999). The ascendance of the discourse of sustainable development promised a fundamental and qualitative shift in the relationship between human society and nature.
In perhaps the most recognisable formulation sustainable development has been defined as 'development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations to meet their needs' (‘Our Common Future’, 1987) The definition goes on to point out that sustainable development contains within it two main concepts: the concept of needs in particular the essential needs of the worlds poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environments ability to meet present and future needs. Irwin points out that the concept of sustainable development was essentially the marriage of developmentalism (as a commitment to economic development) and environmentalism, which is neither straightforward nor without its critics e.g. Sachs (1999). Yet the discourse of sustainable development is an actively created framework for understanding our period in history (Irwin 2001). Sustainable development has been characterised as a latter day equivalent of a grand narrative ‘a way of seeing the present in the perspective of the future…with a societal storyline for justifying change’ (Myerson and Rydin, 1996). As Lafferty points out a realisation of sustainable development, particularly in the area of production and consumption and issues of global equity implies a transformative programme - a reorientation of the basic tenets of Western liberal-pluralist – capitalist society.
With such monumental claims invested in the concept is it not perhaps sociologically naïve to begin from a policy-oriented discourse? The focus of this module is to explore the idea put forward by Irwin that the policy discourse acts as a window on several central sociological themes. These include: the call for fundamental social and institutional change at all levels of society from the global to the local; a quasi-religious sense of togetherness and globality as the human family struggles to deal with its problems; the notion that democracy, participation and empowerment are seen integral to sustainable development; and the evocation of a shared crisis.
The module has two dimensions:
The first critically examines the construction, elaboration and evolution of the discourse of sustainable development on an international and global level as a transformative project that attempts to reconceptualize the relationship between humanity and nature. It begins from the premise that sustainable development is, above all, a cultural form consisting of words, concepts, propositions, explanations, meanings and symbols, that provide legitimation to a range of distinct actors and agents to engage in certain kinds of action and to create certain kinds of institutions (Strydom 2002). Particular attention will be paid to the role of international actors like the United Nations, the OECD, the EU and transnational actors such as the global environmental movement and how they both coalesce and divide on the present and future direction of human social development.
The second takes the example of Ireland as an illustrative case study of a country that has effected an economic transformation from one of the most underdeveloped countries in Western Europe to a much-vaunted exemplar of successful modernization by bodies like the EU and OECD. The emphasis will be on the ambivalent encounter between the discourse of sustainable development with its emphasis on themes of integration, equity, balance and futurity and the experience of recent and rapid social and cultural transformation of Ireland. As economic development brings not just an accumulation of materials but also materialism there is a growing sense of cultural malaise becoming evident in increased levels of protest over development options in Ireland. Particular attention will be given to how this relates to the transformative project of sustainable development and is revealed in discourses of environment and development.
Workshop 1: The Concept and Discourse of Sustainable Development.
concept and contestation
cognitive, normative and regulative aspects of sustainable development
convergence and divergence
Connelly, Steve (2007), ‘Mapping Sustainable Development as a Contested Concept’, Local Environment, Vol. 12, No. 3, 259-278.
Jabareen, Yosef (2008), ‘A New Conceptual Framework for Sustainable Development’, Environment, Development and Sustainability, 10, 179-192.
Kallio, Tomi J., Nordberg, Piia and Ahonen, Ari (2007), ‘Rationalizing Sustainable Development – A Critical Treatise’, Sustainable Development, Vol. 15, pp. 41-51.
Lafferty, William M (2004), ‘Introduction: Form and Function in Governance for Sustainable Development’, in W.M Lafferty (ed.), Governance for Sustainable Development: the Challenge of Adapting Form to Function, Cheltenham and Northampton: Edward Elgar, pp. 319-360
Morse, Stephen (2008), ‘Post-Sustainable Development’, Sustainable Development, 16, 341-352.
Workshop 2: Global Transformations, Local Transitions.
Global Summits and Local Strategies
Baker, Susan (2007), ‘Sustainable Development as Symbolic Commitment: Declaratory Politics and the Seductive Appeal of Ecological Modernisation in the European Union, Environmental Politics, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp 297-317
Göll, Edgar, and Lafond, Micheal (2002), ‘From Rio to Johannesburg and Beyond: A Long and Winding Road’, Local Environment, pp. 317-324.
Göll, Edgar, and Thio, Sie Liong (2008), ‘Institutions for a Sustainable Development, Experiences from EU Countries’, Environment, Development and Sustainability, 10, 69-88.
Rajamini, Lavanya (2003), ‘From Stockholm to Johannesburg: the Anatomy of Dissonance in International Environmental Dialogue’ RECIEL, Vol, 12, No.1, pp. 23-32.
Sneddon, Chris., Howarth, Richard. B., and Norgaard, Richard. B (2006), ‘Sustainable Development in a Post Brundtland World, Ecological Economics, 57, pp. 253-268.
Von Frantzius, Ina (2004),’ World Summit on Sustainable Development Johannesburg 2002: A Critical Analysis and Assessment of Outcomes’, Environmental Politics, Vol. 13, No.2, pp. 467-473.
Workshop 3: Socially Sustainable Development
Social and Institutional Capital
Social Movements and Sustainable Development
Social Networks and Social Change
Garavan, Mark (2007), ‘Resisting the Costs of Development: Local Environmental Activism in Ireland: Environmental Politics, 16.5, 844-863.
Lehtonen, Markku (2006) ‘Deliberative Democracy, Participation and the OECD Peer Reviews of Environmental Policies’, American Journal of Evaluation, Vol. 27, No. 2, 185-200.
Newman, Lenore and Dale, Ann (2007), ‘Homophily and Agency: Creating Effective Sustainable Development Networks, Environment, Development and Sustainability, Vol. 9, No. 1, 79-90.
Rydin, Yvonne and Holman Nancy (2004), ‘Re-evaluating the Contribution of Social Capital in Achieving Sustainable Development’, Local Environment, 9: 2, 177-233
Various (2006), ‘Symposium: The Death of Environmentalism’, Organization and Environment, Vol. 19, No. 1.
Workshop 4: Sustainable Ireland?
Flynn, Brendan (2007), The Blame Game: Rethinking Ireland’s Sustainable Development and Environmental Policy, Dublin and Portland: Irish Academic Press (Chapter 5)
Kelly, Mary (2007), Environmental Debates and the Public in Ireland, Dublin: Institute of Public Administration (Chapter 7)
Mullally, Gerard and Motherway, Brian (forthcoming 2008), ‘Governance for Regional Sustainable Development: Building Institutional Capacity on the Island of Ireland’, in John McDonagh, Tony Varley and Sally Shorthall (eds.), A Living Countryside? The Politics of Sustainable Development in Rural Ireland, Aldershot: Ashgate.
Mullally, G (2006), ‘Relocating Protest: Globalisation and the Institutionalisation of Organized Environmentalism in Ireland? pp. 145-167 in L. Connolly and N. Hourigan (eds.), Social Movements and Ireland, Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press.
Tovey, Hilary (2007), Environmentalism in Ireland: Movements and Activists, Dublin: Institute of Public Administration.
Workshop 5: Emergent Sociological Theories of Climate Change
Compston, Hugh et. al (2009), Climate Change and Political Strategy’, [Special Issue] Environmental Politics, Vol. 18, No. 5.
Coughlan, Oisín (2007), ‘Irish Climate Change Policy from Kyoto to the Carbon Tax: a Two-game Analysis of the Interplay of Knowledge and Power’, Irish Studies in International Affairs, Vol. 18, 131-153.
Lever-Tracy, Constance (2008), ‘Global Warming and Sociology’, Current Sociology, 56: 455-484.
Yearly, Steven (2009), ‘Sociology and Climate Change After Kyoto’, What Roles for Social Science in Understanding Climate Change?’ Current Sociology, Vol. 57: 389-405.
Workshop 6: Reflexivity and Societal Change
Bang, Henrik P. (2003), ‘Governance as Political Communication’, Henrik P. Bang (ed.) Governance as Social and Political Communication, Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 7-26.
Mullally, Gerard (2008), ‘Sustainable Development and Responsible Governance in Ireland: Communication in the Shadow of Hierarchy’, in Seamus O’ Tuama (ed.), ‘Critical Turns in Critical Theory’, Taurus
Usui, Yoichiro (2007) ‘The Democratic Quality of Soft Governance in the EU Sustainable Development Strategy: A deliberative Deficit, Journal of European Integration, 29, 5, pp. 610-633.
Voß, Jan-Peter and Kemp, Rene (2005), ‘Reflexive Governance for Sustainable Development: Incorporating Feedback in Social Problem Solving’, Paper for IHDP Open Meeting, Bonn October 9-13.
Mode of Delivery: The seminar is open to all students affiliated with the Irish Social Sciences Platform –ISSP. The module will be taught at UCC. It will be delivered in Teaching Period 2 in the form of Four x One-Day intensive seminars, supported by online resources (Blackboard). The dates of these seminars are as follows:
Sociology of Development and Globalisation Programme
Dr. Niamh Hourigan (Co-ordinator) Dr. Kathy Glavanis-Grantham, and Dr. Ger Mullally
The Department also offers an MA in the Sociology of Development and Globalisation. This programme was launched in 1990 and grew out of a long-standing interest in development issues within the Department. The importance and continuing relevance of an analysis of the global nature of our current world, at both the structural and cultural levels, is illustrated by the street confrontations over the World Trade Organisation’s meetings and by the less volatile, but pervasive “McDonaldisation” of culture and consumerism. However, at the same time, examples of resistance and conflict exemplified by events in Chechnya, East Timor, Kosovo, Rwanda, and Palestine remind us of the importance of the local and the specific in understanding regional developments as they articulate with the wider global trends. In our teaching and research, we draw on both sociological and anthropological perspectives. We are particularly interested in developing new ways of thinking about development and globalisation and the practice and policy implications of alternative approaches. The programme is premised on the assumption that while we can talk about “one world”, it is still a very unequal world, and increasingly so, and that this inequality needs to be both analysed and challenged. Therefore, the programme attempts to analyse critically the processes of the globalisation of poverty and inequality and explores alternative strategies of development by which people can liberate themselves from the structures and ideologies of domination. In the programme we recognise that poverty and inequality are not only about access to resources, but are based on ways of knowing, thinking, and feeling.
Students registered for this programme must take Sociology of Development and Globalization and Culture
Dr. Niamh Hourigan: Globalization and Culture (see MA Sociology, Society and Mass Communication)
Dr. Kathy Glavanis-Grantham: The Sociology of Development and its Alternatives
Dr. Ger Mullally: Sociology of Sustainable Development
MA in Philosophy and Sociology (courses from Sociology programmes)
SC6638 Borders and Social Justice
Dr. Tracey Skillington
This course explores the impact of global processes of change on the borders of the sovereign state. Borders have always played an integral part of the 'imagining' of a sovereign political community and in the more contemporary global age, the borders within and between states are subject to significant transformation. Globally shared challenges like climate change, international poverty, economic crisis, diminishing access to natural resources are 'borderless' problems that face us all, yet states respond to the various 'chain effects' of such issues today, including displacement and migration, by asserting the preeminence of sovereign borders in the determination of the right of entry, the right of movement, access to entitlements and the allocation of citizenship. In light of the current international 'human rights crisis' (denied access to food, fresh water, arable land, livelihood, shelter) and ever-widening global social inequalities, this course critically explores what purpose borders fulfill today in the allocation of justice?
The course will be designed around a social analytical framework exploring five thematic areas relevant to the study of borders. One session will be devoted to each research area.
Session one: Understanding sovereignty: Is the authority of the nation state still based on a command over territory, a monopoly of legitimate force, and the definition of political community? There are many arguments that say 'no' and we will explore them. We will also examine what challenges does the emergence of a 'trans-sovereignty' pose to the nation state today?
Session two: How and in what instances does the assertion of 'entitlement' become a 'hardened' border to global justice and democracy? The international politics of climate change is currently being played out through a scramble for the world's dwindling resources (conflict over arable land, crop yields, fresh water, hostile take-over bids of the world's oil and gas refineries). How are ideas of justice, equity and sustainability being defined at present through such global economic and political practices?
Session three: Sovereign borders are being fortified at the same time as the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights announces that humanity is in the grips of a 'global human rights crisis'. Poverty and climate change are inducing major hardships on vulnerable regions of the world leading to a mass displacement of peoples. In this session, we assess how the issue of responsibility (for both climate change and its victims) is being articulated in international political discourse as fresh water becomes the 'defining resource of the future' and 'food shortages the defining issue'. We will look at what various sociological perspectives can be brought to bear on our understandings of such issues.
Session four: The relativity of rights and the 'hypocrisy of sovereignty'. In this session, we will address the issue of denial. States continue to embed themselves more and more in international structures of co-operation (economic partnerships, military or peace alliances, environmental agreements, etc.) yet still express a desire to exercise significant autonomy and a tight control of immigration. We will assess the issue of 'hypocrisy' and note how the latter is currently being played out internationally in policy discourse and practices on border control, securitization, detention and exclusion. We will also assess to what degree there is an element of 'cultural insiderism' operative in current interpretations and applications of rights. The question is whose 'universal rights' are being prioritized?
Session five: The current human condition requires a new approach to the social, ecological and political realities of the contemporary global world. The United Nations has begun to finally speak openly of state and inter-state obligations to those displaced peoples directly affected by climate changes now and indeed, whole communities of 'ecologically challenged states' in the future. We will look at how impending global realities can be actively addressed by reconfigured 'democratic communities' that exist between and beyond the sovereign state. What role can these communities play in the allocation of rights to resources and the reinterpretation of distributive justice under conditions of global scarcity?
Readings will be distributed in class.
Dr. Tracey Skillington is a full-time lecturer in the Department of Sociology. She is a Co-Editor of the Irish Journal of Sociology (Manchester University Press) (with Dr. Linda Connolly, Dr. Kathy Glavanis and Dr. Ger Mullally). She also co-edits the book series, New Visions of the Cosmopolitan (Peter Lang, Oxford) with Dr. Patrick O'Mahony.
This course is open to students on the MA in Philosophy and Sociology. However, if students from either the MA Sociology or MA Sociology of Development and Globalization would like to participate in this programme, please contact the Graduate Studies co-ordinators (Dr. Kieran Keohane/ Dr. Niamh Hourigan) to make arrangements.