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Lecture: Why embracing uncertainty means rethinking development

14th October 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Sussex Development Lecture by Ian Scoones, co-director of the STEPS Centre

This lecture makes the argument for putting uncertainty at the centre of thinking and practice in development. This means rejecting a linear, technocratic framing and embracing the implications of uncertainty for today’s complex, dynamic world. Through a number of examples – from the fields of banking, critical infrastructures and disease control – the elements of new thinking on uncertainty and development are explored.

The lecture argues, however, that those who live with and from uncertainty day-to-day are best placed to innovate and help refashion development more broadly. Drawing from the PASTRES programme, examples from pastoralism from around the world are offered to demonstrate the importance learning from the margins. The lecture concludes with a reflection on new directions for development that take uncertainty seriously and help refashion the way we imagine the future.


  • Ian Scoones, Professor, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, co-director of the ESRC STEPS Centre and PI European, Research Council Advanced Grant, PASTRES


  • Peter Taylor, Director of Research at the Institute of Development Studies

How to attend

This lecture is held on Zoom, hosted by the Institute of Development Studies. Online registration is free of charge.


More about uncertainty

Resources and research on uncertainty in relation to sustainability and development is available from the STEPS Centre’s Uncertainty theme.

To explore stories and photographs on how pastoralists understand, experience and respond to uncertainty, visit the online exhibition, Seeing Pastoralism.


14th October 2021
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
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