Finnish Society for Development Research (FSDR) in collaboration with the Finnish University Partnership for International Development – UniPID, University of Helsinki and Hanken School of Economics
Infrastructure and (new) technologies unquestionably play a central role in (and for) development, as highlighted by the current sustainable development goals and revealed by the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change. The extractive development pathways putting liveable environments at risk are closely intertwined with infrastructural politics. Perhaps more than ever, the creation, maintenance, and distribution of infrastructures and technologies are crucial for virtually every aspect of development, including: the environment; health care; food supply; climate responses; education; trade; transportation and traffic; employment and work; economic stability and growth; information and communication; and, not least, social activities and well-being.
However, not only are access to and control over infrastructures and technologies drastically uneven; they also generate power inequalities and vulnerabilities in global development. With the notion of politics of vulnerability, we draw attention to power-ridden and complex socio-technical, gender, ethnic, and political-ecological relations. These relations shape the production of differentiated vulnerabilities to infrastructural, social, and environmental harms and adversities. It is urgent to think of and explore infrastructures critically because of their power to define futures by locking-in certain social, political, economic, and environmental relations while simultaneously locking-out other modes of relations for long periods of time. To avoid the looming socio-environmental catastrophe, we need to consider how the current infrastructural formations can be rearranged, retrofitted, or even decommissioned, as well as how to create future infrastructures that support and generate more just and sustainable futures.
In light of the urgent need to tackle climate change, inequality, and unsustainable forms of development, Development Days 2022 discusses the complex relations between infrastructures, technologies, and vulnerabilities in global development.
Regarding the coronavirus situation:
We are facing uncertainties regarding the format of the conference due to the worsening Covid situation. We are awaiting updated instructions from the University of Helsinki and expect to be fully informed to make final decisions by the 17th or very latest by the 24th of January. Should the conference be moved online, there will be changes in the programme to make it work across different time zones. If you wish, you can read more about the University of Helsinki’s coronavirus situation here.