4: Beyond the Growth Narrative: Inequality, Sustainability and the Politics of Poverty Management in the Global South

This panel rests on two conjectures. One, poverty as a conceptual category is one of the useful governmental techniques designed for governing the population in want of wellbeing. Two, inequality as a political process is being created and recreated as consequences of complex relationship between capital, class and the state, among others, in the countries of the global south. These two conjectures might offer us to think both of a theoretical possibility of a change in viewpoint to conceive the issues of inequality and its causes in a better way, and of a practical possibility of essaying a politics in the field of power with an aim of ‘transformative social development’. The panel seeks to explore various socio-political processes by which the issues of inequality are taking new shape, and recreating confrontation, conflict and social change in consequences of neoliberal reforms like privatisation, free trade and land acquisition, on the one hand and, of emergence and implementation of so-called sustainable development goals (SDGs), on the other. The panel aims to examine with new theoretical and empirical reflections whether or not going beyond the growth narrative will constitute an alternative perspective for framing a sustainable, in every sense, future. This panel invites paper proposals from the scholars who are working on the global south, and are trying to understand the political consequences of pursuance of growth based capitalist accumulation as well as implementation of different sustainable development goals. The scholars are encouraged, though are not restricted, to submit paper proposal that addresses the issues of inequality ethnographically but multi-disciplinarily, through preferably drawing comparison between two different ethnographic regions from the countries of the Global South.

Chaired by Dayabati Roy (University of Helsinki), dayabati.roy@helsinki.fi

Session 1, Room 505

Vanessa Galeano–Duque (University College London)

What is the Medellín’s miracle about? A critical reflection on the urban welfare state in the era of Global-market led urbanism

The Medellin ́s model represent an alternative paradigm in from to world urbanism tendencies following a territorial justice logic in which the urban welfare state redistributive primarily through neighbourhood- level collective means consumption. This paper engages with the long-tradition literature on urban planning strategies to fight cities’ inequalities and poverty. In opposition to the fast growing literature in
worlding cities contested ways to ‘globalize’ through the redevelopment of network infrastructure (Graham and Marvin, 2009; Connolly, 2018) and avant-garde land-marking urbanisms that might deepen the increasing social polarisation, segregation and exclusionary processes triggered by the globalization economic restructuring. I examine the Medellin ́s (Colombia) investment patterns in a wide range of services and infrastructure using a mixed-methods approach. Medellín was recognized in 2008 by the UN as a model city of current urbanism. Several other cities as Bogotá or Rio de Janeiro have been inspired by it and replicated some of its strategies (i.e. the cable-cars – Metrocables). I critically study the way that the city has been planned since 1995 by scrutinizing 3000 contracts (1995-2002) and over 38000 project investments (2001-2016) along qualitative data from the city’s archives, focus groups and planning officers
interviews to understand the process that have placed Medellin in the international focus. I conclude that the ‘Medellin Miracle’ goes a way beyond the Metrocables and Public libraries in the top of the hills, but a process of levelling-up the left behind neighbourhoods’ built environment throughout ‘low-scale’ investments in social infrastructure, principally primary and secondary schools, primary-level health
facilities and neighbourhood-level public space.

Francisco Javier Ardila Suarez (Humboldt University of Berlin)

Social Mobility: The forgotten promise of Economic Development

The XX century was an outstanding period in the history of mankind. Overcoming the Malthusian fears of impending doom, humanity achieved a seemingly always increasing of wealth accompanied by an exponential population growth. Contrary to the apocalyptic predictions of the past, the exponential population growth was overshadowed by our capacity to provide for those people. As the FAO reports, with our current crop production we could produce enough food to feed almost 10 billion people. The enrichment of society was not limited to basic needs. It is said that the life standards of someone in the middle-class today rival, and in some respects exceed, those of the wealthiest individuals a 100 years ago. Looking at the broader picture most nations experienced a positive development of fundamental development indicators like life expectancy, literacy rate, access to sanitation to name some. Hardly any nation in the world saw a detrimental development of these indicators. It is also clear that despite these positive outcomes, the enriching dynamic was plagued by an unequal development and some countries and social groups benefitted more than others. Literature and research in inequality often focus on identifying reasons behind these disparities. Departing from this axiom, researchers have developed narratives that associate inequality with the role of race, geopolitics, economic or political stability, to name some. The dissatisfaction of individuals with the stagnation and social stratification and has reached a critical point in the current political climate. In this literature review I will argue that the social mobility was confused with economic mobility on the main speech during the XX Century. The working classes experienced an improvement in their living and working conditions but not a relative change in their position in society. I’ll also argue that the current political situation in many countries, actions like boycotting democracy, the rising influence of dictator like characters and the shift towards more informal ways of employment could be interpreted as reactionary actions against a system that is perceived as unfair because it lacks social mobility and reinforced a stratification in society.

Omotomilola Ikotun (University of Eastern Finland)

Poverty, Inequality and the transhumant pastoralist in Nigeria

With the return to democracy in 1999, the Nigerian nation has experienced more conflicts between its civilian citizens than ever, with each conflict situation between the sedentary farmers and the transhumant pastoralists recording more deaths. These Herder-farmer conflicts are often considered local, endemic, low-intensity conflicts and because they have not resulted in full-blown wars, literature on violent conflicts in Africa and elsewhere have primarily ignored studying the root and causes of such ‘mild conflicts’, (Moritz, 2010; Chabal, Engel, and Gentili, 2005; Lind and Sturman 2002; Richards 2005b). Herder-farmer conflicts, however, not only have a direct impact on the lives and livelihoods of those involved, but they also disrupt and threaten the sustainability of agricultural and pastoral production in West Africa. Herdsmen and farmers in many local regions make their livelihood within the same geographical, political, and sociocultural conditions, which may be characterised by resource scarcity (Moritz, 2010; Braukämper, 2000) or political inequality (e.g., Bassett 1988). Democratic rule birthed a drive towards market liberalisation and concerted efforts towards economic development, particularly the engagement of the private sector with the privatisation of the electricity sector, and the encouragement of the private sector in the development of infrastructure and agriculture. The increased focus on economic development has created a demand by the private sector for access to land for agriculture and the employment of rural farmers for increased productivity to meet trade demands. Ultimately, this has caused encroachment on historical pastoral herding routes, a legal ban on herding in some states, a battle over access to water resources for animals and entrenched inequality for the pastoralists. This paper will explore the impact of economic expansion in both Ghana and Nigeria on the indigenous migrant group of transhumant pastoralists.

Ouatmane Mustapha (Economics Department, University of Meknes, Morocco)

The impacts of climate change on the socio-economic sectors in the mountain area of ​​the Moroccan Middle Atlas

Socio-economic and biophysical systems are particularly vulnerable to climate change. mountain areas experience higher temperature increases than plains and the impacts of climate change are therefore more intense. In particular, for the Moroccan Middle Atlas, impacts are already observed in all natural and socio-economic sectors, such as the accelerated disappearance of sensitive ecosystems and iconographic elements such as glaciers; alteration of the life cycle of many species, including endemic species; the impact of climate change on natural hazards, tourism-related activities, agriculture or other impacts observed in the hydrological cycle. Climate change is positioning itself as an additional stress factor that aggravates already existing problems on the mountain territory, such as depopulation, land use changes or lack of generational change in the primary sector. Throughout this presentation I consider the fight against climate change and adaptation to its impacts as a transversal instrument offering a multitude of opportunities to meet the challenges of the Middle Atlas, which are also global challenges. The objectives of this presentation are: 1) Update the scientific knowledge bases on impacts and vulnerability of the Middle Atlas territory in the face of climate change, in the main biophysical and socio-economic sectors; 2) to agree, from a scientific point of view, on the main issues facing the Middle Atlas in terms of climate change; and 3) propose sectoral recommendations for adaptation to climate change in the context of global warming.

Husen Tura (University of Eastern Finland)

An Investigation into the Need for Legal Reform to Achieve Food Security in Ethiopia

Hunger and malnutrition are critical problems of our time. About 821 million people lack access to adequate food. This means that one in nine people globally, 12.9% of people in developing countries and 23% of people in sub-Saharan Africa is food insecure. While one in four children are stunted globally, undernourishment causes 45% of deaths in children under five (3.1 million children every year). 66 million primary school-age children (23 million in Africa alone) are food-insecure in the global South. This paper examines the need for legal reform to achieve food security with specific reference to Ethiopia. It shows the need to link land rights of smallholders and indigenous peoples to the right to adequate food. It also demonstrates the importance of adopting a framework law on the right to food or food security to tackle the problems of hunger and malnutrition. In particular, it analyses rights of peasants and pastoralists under the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) constitution as well as rural land administration and expropriation laws, and evaluates them against relevant international human rights standards. The paper recommends that Ethiopia should introduce a framework law on the right to food and/or food and nutrition security, and argues for reforming land expropriation laws in the light of Ethiopia’s obligations under international human rights law to realise the right to food and to achieve the SDG2.