Focus group with women in Myanmar

Agricultural revolutions then and now

I’m writing from a village 70km north of Yangon in Myanmar. A group of women farmers are talking about their experiences raising pigs. They have small herds, five to 30 head. Probably for all of them, this is their first experience of a focus group discussion and they are eager to have their say. The…

Hinkley C: why is the UK building a new nuclear power plant?

Today the UK government approved Britain’s first new nuclear power plant in 20 years at Hinkley Point C. Many of the reactions to the decision have been critical for a number of reasons, including cost, the role of foreign investment and the way that the decision has been made. STEPS co-director Andy Stirling is quoted…

Learning from Rojava: exploring democracy in the midst of the Syrian war and beyond

Ahead of two events on democratic transformations in Northern Syria on 3 and 4 November, Patrick Huff (Birkbeck, University of London) blogs on the extraordinary changes going on in the region and how they came about. Few outside observers would expect to see democracy sprout from the wreckage of the Syrian Civil War – perhaps…

What we talk about when we talk about technology

In casual conversation ‘technology’ usually means something like a device, gadget or machine. Your smartphone for instance, or the satellite navigation system in your car; maybe the car itself, why not? But this conception of technology soon collapses if you subject it to a few quick tests. For example, try asking: Where is the technology?…

Empowering chickens?

In his latest Zimbabweland blog, STEPS director Ian Scoones looks at the latest scheme from Bill Gates to distribute chickens to help poor rural women.

Six grassroots innovation movements, and why they matter

Innovation is increasingly said to be vital for responding to global challenges like sustainable development. Often overlooked, however, is the fact that networks of community groups, activists and researchers have been innovating grassroots solutions for social justice and environmental sustainability for decades. A new STEPS book, Grassroots Innovation Movements (Routledge, 2016) examines six such movements…