Development Studies Subject Conference
Development Studies Subject Conference 2011: Brief report
On 30 September 2011 the South African Development Studies Association was founded at Unisa. The decision to establish the Association was unanimously approved by those delegates who attended the founding meeting. From 28 to 30 September 2011 a conference on RESHAPING DEVELOPMENT IN THE 21ST CENTURY was presented by the steering committee and hosted by Unisa. Sixty academics from South African universities attended the conference and 30 papers were delivered.
The conference elected an interim management committee with Prof Frik de Beer of Unisa as the chairperson. This committee faces a number of challenges, including the following:
At the conference the following research projects were announced and colleagues invited to contact the project leaders indicated below with a view to participating in the following projects:
Rural transformation and rights to food in Africa: A (tentative) book project
To explain and test these questions requires a lengthy and interdisciplinary review of the literature on the food crisis. This will help develop a contrasting exegesis on food theory that we can call an “alternative vision”. Our assumption thus begins with the very basis of the political economy, that is, an analysis of the relations of production. This explains how a society organises its production, who produces and who appropriates. The premises of the book begin from the assumption that the food crisis in Africa is as much economic as it is social and political. Rights of access to food are influenced by a variety of social, political and legal variables. The author’s hypothesis is that the production system in Africa is beset with problems relating to subsistence farming, the existence of land in excess of requirements and the prevalence of customary laws. This traditional method of agriculture can only be overcome if Africa’s subsistence agriculture is transformed into specialised, small-scale surplus farming units. To engage in such a plan is to propose the inalienable right to life, freedom and the pursuit of wellbeing. In this sense the right approach to food production is pertinent to any discussion of the human condition in Africa.
Past, present and future perspectives on Development Studies
The aim is to re-establish the position of Development Studies in the network of social sciences and to reflect on important development issues confronting Africa and the rest of the world. The world is changing at a rapid pace, with dramatic results: inequalities, environmental problems and food insecurity. It is thus necessary for us to take stock of the past; but also continue building bridges between institutions and between Development Studies academics.
The book will consist of three main sections. Each of these sections will consist of sub-themes as chapters.
Besides the above themes and sub-themes we are also encouraging submissions with a focus on law, harbour and coastal community studies, HIV/AIDS studies, mega-sport events, community psychology and social capital.
Therefore, this project is one that will really challenge our thoughts. It is envisaged the a meaningful contribution to knowledge of development will be made and that students and practitioners of Development Studies, business managers, policy makers and public figures will all benefit from this initiative.