» Archive for: July, 2013


On 23-26 June 2014 the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) will host its triennial General Conference 14th EADI General Conference in Bonn, Germany.  The conference is entitled: Responsible Development in a Polycentric World: Inequality, Citizenship and the Middle Classes. Since 1975, each of the triennial conferences have focused on themes of topical interest, and assembled over 500 participants. EADI cordially invites expressions of interest from interested institutions, researchers, NGO- and academic networks and study/research consortia and EADI working groups to organize a panel for the 14th General Conference in Bonn. We particularly invite large international research projects/programmes (e.g. EU Framework projects) to organize panels for the Conference on their work. Professor Peter Knorringa, head of CIRI, is working on three panel proposals.

If you are interested, please submit your expression of interest by 15 September via the conference website. Further details on the conference theme and procedures are available at www.gc2014.org

 

In 3-6 June 2013, the CIRI strand  ‘Sexuality Research Initiative’ of Institute of Social Studies (ISS) and Institute of Health Policy & Management (iBMG), Erasmus University Rotterdam, and KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation (KNCV-TB) organized the Intercultural Dialogue (ICD) on Sexuality, Reproductive Health and Rights in Development: ‘Going Beyond the Comfort Zone’ at the ISS in The Hague.

As one of the first events of the new Civic Innovation Research Initiative (CIRI) of the ISS, Prof. Peter Knorringa opened the meeting welcoming the original approach to the meeting’s methodology and focus. Over 40 participants came together to discuss the diversity of knowledge policies and practices, on the body, reproduction, sexuality and well-being. During the three days the participants discussed different collaborative research projects grounded in the situated knowledges, experiences and expertise of the participants from Africa, South Asia, Latin America, Europe and North America. Many topics were covered: intergenerational understandings around changing sexualities/ bodies/ pleasures/ illness; different cultural meanings of sexuality and the body including the role of religiosity and spirituality on peoples’ sexual and reproductive rights; eco feminism; militarism; decolonialism; practices of sexuality in terms of risks and pleasures; looking at the complex interrelationship of poverty, TB, HIV and AIDS in marginal and stigmatized social groups (sex workers, SMS, trans).

The approach for this meeting was rooted in the Intercultural Dialogue (ICD) methodology. Rosalba Icaza, member of CIRI, explained: “We need a safe space in which we can reflect on how sexuality has been addressed in mainstream sciences. We can make a contribution if we could practice careful listening and unpack the preconceived assumptions that we come with. Ability to listen in a very humble and an active manner, to question some ways in which we have been approaching this topic, is necessary”. This was exactly what happened during those three days and created a unique environment in which the discussions moved beyond the expectations.

The meeting started with a discussion around a diagram by Dubravka Zarkov and Rosalba Icaza that illustrated the linkages between the key themes that had illustrated the connections between the research interests of the participants. The diagram was an initiative from the ICD organizers and emerged from the biographical notes from the participants. This starting point for the discussions gave the participants the opportunity to reflect on whether the diagram corresponded with their personal experience and to consider how themes on sexual politics, queer ecology, militarism and sexuality, sexual health and rights, embodiment and politics of knowledge are connected. While the major themes became visible through the diagram, it also led to many questions on gaps and the positioning of different interests and approaches to sexualities encouraging the participants to think ‘beyond their comfort zone’.

ICD Group photoWhile all participants came with a passion for the issues that were discussed, it is important to recognize that everyone came from a very different professional and personal background. In such a context, listening becomes even more important in order to reflect on the discussion and engage with each other in different spaces. On the first day of the ICD, Emma Delfina Chirix, from the Maya Kaqla Women’s Group, shared that it was a special day on the Mayan calendar: the celebration of networks. The idea of developing a new community, inspired by the Mayan calendar, was a red line throughout the discussions during the ICD.

Whereas the first day of the ICD was organized in primarily a plenary manner, including Sylvia Marcos addressing the Development Research Seminar on her work on women and religion, the following two days were held in small group discussions that evolved in a very dynamic manner. The participants moved between different groups as they situated their work on the potential research projects which emerged: youth and sexuality; politics of knowledge generation; sexual politics, abortion politics, transgender politics; queer ecology; gender, sexuality and the body: disability and militancy; the politics of the anus; addressing hetereonormativity in the TB world; and unpacking sexualities and normativities in Bangladesh. On the last day of the ICD partners including from the funding community from within the Netherlands joined the conversation and the initial ideas for the research projects were shared.

The ICD meeting ended with a lot of appreciation from the participants. According to some of the reflections at the closing session opportunities such as this ICD, in which the type of outputs are not pre-determined, are extremely rare and facilitate a space in which one can push boundaries.

 

Wilson EnzemaWilson Enzama from Uganda, PhD candidate, presented his research 18th June 2013 at the Post Fieldwork Seminar organized by CIRI. Wilson’s research “Value Chains and Economic Development in Post-War Localities: The Case of Northern Uganda” focuses on the market processes of post-war recovery in Uganda. Returnees face prolonged market and coordination failures due to breakdown of market institutions and high transaction costs and risks. With the use of cotton and oilseeds value chains in northern Uganda, a region emerging from civil war, he examines how the value chain approach is applied; testing its strengths, and weaknesses in market development and constraints actors face in using the approach. It’s premised on the argument that with strategic coordination, the value chain as actor-oriented process can stimulate establishment of trust and peaceful coexistence among actors which is healthy for sustainable peace building in post-war environment, while in the long-run moving small producers from low-return activities to high-return markets through long-term market nexus. The research stresses the importance of identifying local initiatives of small producers in accessing markets on which external assistance can be grafted.


International Institute of Social Studies

CIRI aims to scale up and identify synergies between existing research at ISS on civic agency and change agents, as drivers of societal change and development. This blog is a forum on which to share and discuss themes and issues which fall within the broad framework of the programme.

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