Finnish Society for Development Research (FSDR) is a multidisciplinary scientific society which provides a meeting point for researchers and students of development studies and other academic fields in which development-related research are pursued. The society’s membership includes development scholars, practitioners and students, and is open to everyone who interested in development-related research and debates particularly in the “Global South”.
The society promotes cooperation between universities and research centres both nationally and internationally. Its close partners in Finland is the Universities’ Partnership for International Development (UniPID). The society also cooperates with a range of Finnish non-governmental and governmental organizations working in the field of international development. It is also a member of The Federation of Finnish Learned Societies (TSV).
As its main annual activity, the society organizes an international conference on a theme that reflects the topical and most engaging development debates of the day. As a member you can participate in the conferences free of charge. The society keeps you informed and offers collegial support to your scholarly aspirations at different levels. Members can order Forum for Development Studies – The Nordic Journal of Development Research (Routledge) at a reduced price. The society also offers a channel to be part of the strengthening community of development research in Finland. Welcome!
What do we mean by Development Research?*
Development research critically analyses development and the practices of “developmentalism” as a complex of interests, discourses and actions, wherein people, movements, local struggles, and everyday lives are studied alongside “official” development policy and practice and development cooperation.
Traditionally, development studies as a field of research has focused on the study of ‘problems’ in the ‘developing world’. This understanding has in recent decades evolved to more critically consider the complex relationship between all societies, the roles played by various institutions and structures existing within and between them, and the effects these relations have on processes of social, economic, political, and environmental change and justice. The impact of global economic, political and social forces, and the processes of “global development”, seemingly now connect us all, but they also lead to different outcomes for a range of peoples and groups.
Today, critical perspectives in development studies have emerged that transcend the previous limitations of dominant Eurocentric constructions of development to recognize not only the definitions devised and promoted by the Global North, but also those being produced and practiced by the Global South, including by entirely different cultures and knowledge systems.
We, the Finnish Society for Development Research, see Development Research as an interdisciplinary field encompassing multiple points of view without any “hegemonic” or exclusive school of thought on so-called ‘development’. Indeed, central to our field of research is the critical study of the construction of meanings of this core concept – development – and the resulting multiple interventions and policies.
One of our core purposes is to provide platforms and spaces for the open sharing and debate of development research and related findings. Our Society aims to provide researchers, students, and partners working in fields related to development with an inspiring, inclusive, and supportive community that stimulates dialogue, encourages thought-provoking insights, and promotes the exchange and combination of multiple thematic, theoretical and methodological approaches to interpret cultural, political, economic, environmental, and social change. We put great value on societal impact, and hope to contribute to better explanations and understandings of the highly complex and dynamic processes occurring throughout the world today – of societal transformations occurring within and across multiple scales, from local to global, and analysed from the perspectives of historical as well as contemporary contexts.
*This is an adapted and shortened version of a text prepared by the staff and students of Development Studies at the University of Helsinki in September 2018, which we were highly inspired by, and given permission to adopt and use for the purposes of communicating FSDR’s stance on Development Research.
The members of Finnish Society of Development Research (FSDR) are individuals and societies interested in academic and scientific Development Research. As a member you can join in FSDR’s events and participate in the annual Development Days conference at a reduced fee. Additionally all members get an email newsletter of the Society’s activities.
You can join the society, or renew your existing membership, by paying the membership fee to our account FI85 8000 1700 4897 44 (Danske Bank). The annual membership fee is 25 euros. For students the annual fee is 10 euros and for societies 42 euros. Please include “Membership – your name” in the reference text box.
The society organizes each year an international conference on a topical theme with changing partner organizations. The society is cooperating with its sister organizations in Nordic countries so as to co-organize joint events and conferences.
Our past events include:
2020 Inequality Revisited: In Search of Novel Perspectives on an Enduring Problem (27.-28.2.2020)
Keynote speakers: Sango Mahanty and Dan Brockington.
2019 Repositioning global development: changing actors, geographies and ontologies (28.2.-1.3.2019)
Keynote speakers: Giles Mohan, Rosalba Icaza Garza and Ashish Kothari.
2018 The Politics of Sustainability: Re-thinking resources, values and justice (15.-16.2.2018)
Keynote speakers: Jesse Ribot, Sian Sullivan and Jun Borras.
2017 Authoritarianism and Development (16.-17.2.2017).
Keynote speakers: Boris Kagarlitsky and Susanne Dahlgren.
2016 Making Alternatives Visible: Resisting and Reshaping the Mainstream (11.-12.2.2016)
Keynote speaker: Neera Sandhoke. Listen to keynote speech here.
2015 Rethinking Responsibility in Development: Contested Relationships between States, Citizens, and Corporations (12.-13.2.2015)Keynote speakers: Dinah Rajak and Bernadeta Killian. Organized with HUGS (University of Helsinki), LYY Institute (University of Eastern Finland), the Department of Political and Economic Studies/Development Studies and UNIPID.
2014 Inclusion/Exclusions? Communities, Identities and Value Systems Reconsidered (12.2.2014)
Keynote speakers: Barry Gills and Claudia Mitchell. Organized with the Department of Political and Economic Studies (UH), the Youth and Political Engagement in Contemporary Africa Project, the University of Helsinki Global South (HUGS) Network, and UniPID .
2013 Knowing development – Developing Knowledge? (14.-15.11.2013) – Biannual Nordic Conference
Keynote speakers: Ritva Vainikka, David Mosse, Alice Ndidde, Robert Chambers, Göran Hydén and Lisa Ann Richey. Organized with The Association of Development Researchers in Denmark, The Norwegian Association for Development Research, The Finnish University Partnership for International Development, UniPID, Aalto-University, KEPA, Development Studies, University of Helsinki and Finnish Graduate School in Development Studies, DEVESTU.
2013 Civil Society and Development (8.2.2013)
Keynote speakers: Henning Melber, Sisay Alemahu and Mahdi Abdile. Organized with KEPA, University of Helsinki Global South Network (HUGS),University of Eastern Finland LYY-Institute, University of Jyväskylä Master’s Degree Programme in Development and International Cooperation, Development Studies, University of Helsinki.
2012 Citizenship Transformations in a Global World (9.-10.2.2012)
Keynote speakers: Mervat Hatem, Teivo Teivainen, Sian Lazar, Carles Feixa and Geoffrey Pleyers. Organized with UniPID, Department of Political and Economic Studies/Development Studies (University of Helsinki), Finnish Youth Research Network and Helsinki University Global South (HUGS) Network. A collection of conference papers were published as a special issue of Journal of Civil Society 8(4).
2011 Reframing Sustainability? Climate Change and North-South Dynamics (10.-11.2.2011)
Keynote speakers: Arun Agrawal, Markku Kanninen, Petri Pellikka, René Orellana and Shalmali Guttal. Organized with UniPID, Department of Political and Economic Studies/Development Studies (University of Helsinki), Siemenpuu Foundation, Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), Service Centre for Development Cooperation (KEPA) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Conference papers were published in a special section of Forum for Development Studies 39(1).
2010 Crises, Conflicts and Development: Multifaceted Perspectives to Security (11.-12.2.2010)
Keynote speakers: Michaelle Browers, Aili Tripp, Wim Naudé and Elnour Abdalla Elsiddig. Organized with UniPID, Crisis Management Centre Finland and Department of Political and Economic Studies/Development Studies (Helsinki university). See Conference report.
2009 Knowledge, Development and Academic Partnerships (19.-21.2.2009)
Keynote speakers: Tania Li, Giles Mohan, Luis Tapia, Stephen Simukanga and Seppo Hölttä. Organized with UniPID. See online report and UniPID’s conference report , summary (pdf) and working group reports on Africa, Latin America and Asia.
2008 Development, Justice and Governance: New Challenges in the Global South (24.-25.4.2008)
Keynote speakers: Stephanie Barrientos, David Demeritt and Severine Rugumamu. Organized with Institute of Development Studies (Helsinki university) and European Association of Development Research and Training (EADI).
2007 Development Studies: Landscapes and Horizons (16.-17.2.2007)
Keynote speakers: Terence Ranger and Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan. Organized by Institute of Development Studies (Helsinki university).
Henri Onodera, chair
henri.onodera [at] tuni.fi
Ilona Steiler, vice-chair
ilona.steiler [at] helsinki.fi
Meeri Tiensuu, secretary
meeri.tiensuu [at] tuni.fi
Katriina Huttunen, treasurer
katriina.huttunen [at] helsinki.fi
Finnish Society for Development Research
P.O. 18 (Unioninkatu 35)
00014 University of Helsinki