Question marks

Responding to uncertainty: who are the experts?

Uncertainties are everywhere, part of life. But how to respond? Who are the experts? These are questions that we are debating this week at a symposium entitled ‘The Politics of Uncertainty: Practical Challenges for Transformative Action’. But they are also questions very pertinent to daily life in Zimbabwe, as elsewhere in the world. Everyday uncertainties For…

Choreographed Consensus: The stifling of dissent at CRISPRcon 2019

by Saurabh Arora (SPRU/STEPS Centre), Barbara van Dyck (SPRU/STEPS Centre), Alejandro Argumedo (Asociación ANDES) and Tom Wakeford (ETC Group) Last week, we attended the annual CRISPRcon hosted by Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands. The conference was marketed as a not-for-profit event offering ‘a unique forum in which a broad selection of diverse voices…

What is revolutionary about the Green Revolution?

The dramatic increase in yields of wheat and rice in the 1960s and 1970s in India, along with many other countries in the post-colonial world, was framed as a technological breakthrough made possible by miracle hybrid seed varieties. This breakthrough ostensibly averted mass scale hunger and was central, so the story goes, to realising substantive…

Disciplinary identities and other barriers to advancing interdisciplinary working

By Professor Linda Waldman, Institute of Development Studies, Professor Joanne Sharp, University of Glasgow, and Professor James Wood, University of Cambridge. The following blog was first published on the PLoS ONE blog ‘EveryONE’. Interdisciplinary research is becoming increasingly commonplace. In recent years, climate change, ecosystem sustainability, planetary boundaries and zoonotic disease outbreaks have in particular…

sheep in a grassy field with overcast sky

Why radical land reform is needed in the UK

Half of the land is owned by 1% of the people. Getting information on who owns what land is nigh on impossible. Tax arrangements favour land speculation. Ordinary people cannot get access to land to grow food. Where is this place? Not a settler country in southern Africa, but the UK. With the publication of…

politicians tower over a mass of people in a rural setting with political signs

Turning the populist tide

The last week has seen major gains for nationalist, populist parties in elections, both in Europe and India. Is this the end of the centre-ground consensus? What are the alternatives? In India, the BJP swept to victory on the back of anti-Muslim rhetoric and Hindu nationalist slogans. Only Kerala stood out as a state where…

EU Elections: what does populism mean for rural people?

As countries across Europe await the results of the European Union elections, the campaigns of authoritarian and populist political movements are once again in the news. A new collection of articles shows this not only to be a European phenomenon, but worldwide. And rural people, often forgotten or stereotyped, are crucial both in supporting and…

Railway

The Chinese Belt and Road Initiative: what’s in it for Africa?

The huge Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Forum recently concluded in Beijing. 37 heads of state attended, along with droves of policy advisors and numerous thinktanks and research institutes, including IDS where I work. Monica Mutsvanga, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, attended on behalf of the Zimbabwe government. By all accounts it was…

Unpacking the epic narratives of the Green Revolution

by Lidia Cabral, Poonam Pandey and Xiuli Xu Nearly 50 years since its apex, the Green Revolution – a chapter in history associated with rapid expansion in agricultural production driven by science and technology – retains the power to inspire. In spite of the criticism emphasising its social and environmental costs, there is talk about…

Cities, Uncertainty and Systems Change

Depending who and where you are in the world, you will be experiencing the effects of climate change differently. Here in the UK, the recent hot-weather days in February might have felt unsettling, even as your body welcomed the warmth and sunshine. Meanwhile, people in some parts of the United States were caught in freezing…