Development Days 2020 – Call for panels

Development Days 2020 Conference

Inequality Revisited: In Search of Novel Perspectives on an Enduring Problem

Organised by the Finnish Society for Development Research
26–28 February, 2020
House of Science and Letters
Helsinki, Finland

The problematique of inequality – or, inequalities, to recognise the multidimensionality and complexity of the problem – is re-emerging on the global agenda of development research. In recent decades, development scholars have focused more on the question of poverty. While poverty and inequality are interlinked, inequality is manifested also in many other ways – for example, in structural, material, relational, institutional, geographical and technological terms, and through a variety of social, political, cultural, economic and other phenomena.

Importantly, current debates are critically reflecting on the fact that global inequality is intimately connected to the history of slavery and Western colonialism, and is continuously shaped, reconstructed, maintained and reinforced by their new, neocolonial and neoliberal forms. However, there are also some challenges. Analyses of inequality often tend to revolve around neoclassical development economics and its variants, such as the human capability approach or ‘development as freedom’. While postcolonial and feminist approaches have widened the scope, more remains to be done. The ‘economistic turn’ in inequality research has disproportionately focused on the global North, and has not managed to link the question of inequality to the clarion call for global justice. In turn, analyses of inequality have suffered from new forms of stratification. Many studies are methodologically nationalist, although local and global inequalities are increasingly intertwined and injustice ever more widespread. There is an urgent need to rethink inequality in development research and practice. To do so, it is necessary to utilise multi- and transdisciplinary approaches – that is, to learn and share beyond disciplinary boundaries.

The Finnish Society for Development Research (FSDR) engages with these ongoing debates through theDevelopment Days 2020 Conference. We invite panel proposals that address the problematique of inequality from different perspectives across the disciplines, including themes related – but not limited –to:

  • the colonial roots of global inequality; slavery in the past and present;
  • neocolonialism, neoliberalism and new categories of inequality;
  • inequalities in, and beyond, the global South-North divide;
  • urban, rural and regional inequalities; spatiality and diversity;
  • the role of global political economy and international development policies;
  • the promise of alternative, inclusive, Indigenous and green economies;
  • inequality and human rights in the environmental discourses and SDGs;
  • refugees and inequality in the migration-development nexus;
  • gender and racial inequality; intersectional approaches;
  • marginalised, subaltern and subjugated knowledges;
  • epistemological inequality; the politics of power/knowledge;
  • inequality in research practices, between researchers and research participants;
  • the transformative potential of collaborative research and co-production of knowledge;
  • new methods, tools, innovations and technologies to address and tackle inequality; and
  • postcolonial and decolonial approaches to inequality.

Guidelines for submission: Please submit your panel proposals (max 300 words), together with a short bio (max 100 words) of the intended panel chair, to the Scientific/Organising Committee by 15 September 2019 by email at We encourage the panel chairs also to include a preliminary plan for a sole or joint (with other panels) special issue that could be proposed to a relevant journal for consideration after the conference. Evidence of prior discussion or favourable consideration of such a special issue, will be considered by the conference organisers. The panel proposals will be judged on the fit to the conference theme, the chances that the panel will attract wide interest, and the possibility that revised versions of the papers presented in the panel can become the nucleus of a special issue of a relevant journal. You will be notified of panel acceptance by 5 October.

The Call for papers and presentations will open on 15 October. 

Important dates and deadlines

15.9.2019 Deadline for panel proposals
5.10.2019  Notification of accepted panels
15.10.2019 Call for papers and presentations (abstracts)
30.11.2019 Deadline for abstract submissions
15.12.2020 Notifications of accepted papers and presentations, by panel chairs
15.2.2020 Last day of registration
26.2.2020 Pre-conference workshops for Master’s and PhD students
26.2.2020 Civil Society Organisation event Development Days 2020 Conference

Scientific/Organising Committee

Franklin Obeng-Odoom, University of Helsinki
Tiina Seppälä, University of Lapland
Bonn Juego, University of Jyväskylä
Anna Salmivaara, University of Helsinki
Johanna Götz, University of Helsinki
Ayonghe Akonwi Nebasifu, University of Lapland
Antti Autio, University of Helsinki
Anja Onali, UniPID/University of Jyväskylä