NFU Panels 2016-19

Four NFU panels run until 2019:

Asian Transformations: Theories, Challenges, Opportunities
Organizers: Maren Aase (SUM); Arve Hansen (SUM); Jostein Jakobsen (SUM);
Kenneth Bo Nielsen (Norwegian Network for Asian Studies); Karina Standal (SUM); Harold Wilhite (SUM)

The resurgence of Asia represents the most significant global shift in the geography of the world economy during the past 50 years. China and India are now consolidating their positions as global powers; at the same time, a number of other Asian countries are experiencing rapid economic growth and emerging as important players in regional and global markets and politics. Yet the Asian development success stories are marred by contradictions, with the high-consuming middle classes rapidly expanding, alongside persistent and growing socio-economic inequalities and environmental degradation.

This panel interrogates contemporary Asian transformations, examining the interplay between global political-economic and environmental forces; state policies; and the politics and practices of everyday life. The panel will invite new theoretical perspectives and empirically-based research on Asian transformations.

 
Food in a Changing World
Organizers: Mariel Aguilar-Støen and Desmond McNeill (SUM); Ola Westengen (Noragric, NMBU)

Increasingly food is occupying a more prominent role in public debates related for instance to health and climate change or to agricultural production. Food is also central to activists and global social movements like Via Campesina as well as to lifestyle moguls like Jamie Oliver. Food offers many venues through which the most salient environmental, economic, political and social challenges of our time can be studied and analysed. It also offers possibilities to form alliances between science and society and between different disciplines and research traditions.

This panel welcomes papers on issues related broadly to food in the global North and South including issues related to cultural change, political ecology, environmental sciences, agronomy, food systems, health, lifestyles, social movements, political economy, climate and more.

 
Power, Resistance, and Development in the Global South
Organizers: Alf Gunvald Nilsen (UiB); Hanne Haaaland and Hege Wallevik (UiA)

Why should we be concerned with understanding the dynamics of power and resistance in the study of development? In short – because from its origins in the late colonial age until the present the way the direction – i.e. the actual trajectory of social change that we refer to as development – and the meaning – i.e. the discourses that shape our understanding of what development is and/or should be – of development have been and continue to be shaped by the dynamics of power and resistance between dominant and subaltern groups in and between localities, states, and institutions. The idea of development can be used to establish and enhance the power of dominant groups, and to shape developmental trajectories according to their interests. But conversely, it can also be mobilized to contest and challenge extant structures of power and the prevailing direction of developmental trajectories. These dynamics unfold on and across a range of spatial scale – from the terrain of geopolitics in the world-system, via the contentious politics of social movements at the level of nation states, to the everyday negotiations that take place in “development encounters” at the national level. This panel aims to bring together leading international scholars whose work investigates these dynamics over a three-year period in order to work towards conceptual perspectives through which to study power, resistance, and development and substantive and empirically grounded studies of these dynamics across the regions of the global South.

“What Works in Development?”
Organizer: Dan Banik (SUM)

Research on poverty reduction and development is often disseminated as a mixture hopeful altruism and difficult reality. And the media often paint issues related to foreign aid as wasteful spending. A barrage of reports on unsuccessful programs leaves the public wondering if any intervention can ever work. Yet can the case be made for a more optimistic outlook on international development? This panel will highlight research of programs, case studies, and events that can be considered ‘promising’ in improving the well-being of the poor and contributing to overall societal progress. In particular, the panel will explore research related to agriculture, public health, governance, institutional reforms and poverty reduction.