This panel discussion session explores some of the central dimensions of the Crisis in the Anthropocene that constitute global social challenges in the context of development studies. The conference theme highlighted the profound human impact on our blue-green-brown planet, that is already breaching planetary boundaries and pushing us beyond the roughly 1.5°C tipping point. This threatens liveability and sustainability in many localities and regions and may well rapidly be ‘off the scale’ of imaginability and survivability. Inevitably, as mounting empirical evidence and increasingly clear projections by the IPCC and other authoritative bodies show, these impacts are unevenly spread, both socially and spatially, both now and over the coming decades. The urgency of appropriate action is undeniable and we already know many dimensions of the required adaptations and transformations. Yet progress mostly remains too slow. These challenges are vital to the development studies community – heterogenous as it is – with our concerns for tackling poverty, inequality, deprivation and environmental degradation globally and locally.
Hence this symposium asks what the crisis means for development theory, policy and practice and what development studies can and should be contributing to – and, indeed, whether it is capable of – addressing some key dimensions that warrant greater attention.
This article reports on an exploratory study in the UK on the experiences of social work practitioners and students whose minoritised identities may not be obvious to those they interact with in work and university settings. Study is relevant because people increasingly identify in ways that fall outside singular demographic categories and because there is a dearth of research on their experiences to date. Analysis of the qualitative survey data identifies three overarching themes: experiences of misrecognition and prejudice; fears of being out; and ease with ‘passing’ (successfully presenting oneself in a socially favoured identity rather than an ‘authentic’ one) and ‘code-switching’ (altering language, behaviour or appearance so that it conforms to hegemonic societal and cultural norms). While a small-scale study, experiences of the surveyed practitioners and students provide important illustrations of their ongoing fears about revealing their authentic identities, despite the broader professional commitment to anti-oppressive and anti-discriminatory practice.
This article investigates refugees’ labour to gain inclusion within the ‘host’ community, drawing on interviews with male Afghan former interpreters employed by Western armies. It makes an empirical contribution by centring them as active agents rather than as passive tropes in the racialised and gendered discourses of the ‘War on Terror’ and Western migration policies. It offers a synthesis between concepts from three fields: migration as translation, migrant masculinities and the battleground of conditional inclusion. By focusing on migrants’ self-translations in dialogue with translations of their bodies and stories by host-country institutions, I trace three strategies: insertion, subversion and exemption. While Afghan interpreters largely fail to be recognised as needing protection from harm, their insertion and subversion of discourses of protection based on service are more successful. Finally, they counter their interpellation as dangerous bodies with a strategy of exemption that can be momentarily successful but remains ultimately precarious.
Exploitative working conditions for migrant workers in industrial fisheries have recently drawn considerable attention among activists and scholars, often with a focus on Asian fisheries. Even so, fish work can offer a better livelihood option than migrant workers might have in their home countries. These contradictions are apparent in fisheries around the world, including those based in Europe and North America. In this paper we explore the incongruities and patterns of working conditions for migrant workers in Irish fisheries, situating how the global seafood industry relies on a racialised labour force that is devalued to produce raw materials for high-value seafood products, before turning to an analysis of a decades-long campaign to improve Ireland’s legal framework for migrant fish workers. Persistent campaign work illustrates how a multi-pronged approach, including legal strategies and actions to make the injustices in Irish fisheries more visible, is critical to provoking change, even as working conditions remain far short of most land-based sectors in that country.
Gambling is an addictive behaviour that causes significant harms to individuals, families and societies. Problematic gambling can have profound impacts on family life, including financial destitution and relationship breakdown. In addictive relationships, addictive behaviour dominates over other social commitments.
The COVID-19 pandemic had important implications on family life and gambling behaviours. This is likely to have affected family relationships in families experiencing gambling harms. The current study uses evidence from a qualitative survey (N=39) and interviews (N=5) collected with family members of gamblers to explore how family members of gamblers experienced addictive relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic in Finland.
The results show that gambling negatively affects intimate relationships, relationality and interdependencies in families. For many, gambling-related harms were accentuated by the intensification of addictive relationships during the pandemic. For others, availability restrictions of gambling brought relief. The results also show a need for more family-oriented help services and highlight the importance of prevention.
This study examines whether care workers in Finland feel able to provide adequate care for older people and analyses the working conditions that limit them from providing it. One third of the respondents felt that they were not able to provide sufficient care for older people. This was seen as being due to excessive workloads, a general lack of staff and accompanying physical and mental burdens. Improving care workers’ working conditions would enhance their work–life balance and allow them to help older people avoid situations of care poverty, that is, to receive the level of care they deserve.
The COVID-19 pandemic saw the implementation of public health measures that caused significant disruption to daily life. Consequently, these measures were met with widespread resistance. It was argued that this resistance was driven by anti-scientific attitudes, as individuals refused to comply with mask mandates and lockdowns, and later resisted vaccination efforts. This article asks whether this is an accurate characterisation of those challenging efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. To address this question, this article draws on fieldwork at medical freedom rallies. These rallies were explicitly organised to challenge policies aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19. The primary finding is that rather than being a conflict between pro- and anti-scientific forces, the conflict instead largely stemmed from who can properly lay claim to the mantle of science. Attendees questioned the legitimacy of the science justifying limitations on their personal liberty and suggested that extra-scientific concerns such as a desire for political control had compromised the objectivity of public health experts. This work contributes to ongoing debates concerning institutional trust and the role of expertise in democratic governance.
Despite decades of concern, health inequalities persist and collaborations to address them at a local level are yet to prove effective. One potential way of improving actions to address health inequalities is to pay greater attention to the way the problems and solutions are framed.
Aims and objectives:
The aims of the study were to: 1) review existing advice and guidance on how to frame the wider determinants of health, health inequalities and how to address them in policy; 2) critically appraise this guidance with reference to a study of local action to address the wider determinants of health and health inequalities in England; and 3) offer insight into the future of framing these issues at the local level.
An exploratory qualitative study of local actors’ activities and experiences that relate to framing health inequalities. Analysis is drawn from 14 in-depth, qualitative interviews with people working in health- and other-sector partnerships.
Local actors engaged in systemic framing of the wider determinants, health inequalities and what to do about them across localities, albeit in a non-routinised or uniform way. Evidence and data were a key part of telling the story. Owing in part to resource constraint, local practitioners tended to work with people who quickly ‘got it’ (the structural, systemic nature of health inequalities) and focused their efforts on working in these partnerships; this was a reflection of the relational process of ‘co-framing’. Other tactics were used to try and persuade unconvinced colleagues or elected members. There were multiple challenges, however, to framing consistency, coherency and comprehensiveness of coverage, and using a systemic frame was no guarantee of cross-sectoral collaborative working.
Discussion and conclusion:
Re-framing health inequalities is challenging and relational for local practitioners. Local tactics that include tailoring, co-framing and building strong local examples offer promise.
This research set out to investigate displaced women’s resilience and growth relationally, including relationships between displaced women and their children and how growth might extend to those working with displaced women. A unique relational, narrative and ethnographic approach demonstrated how processes of ‘reciprocal growth’ were constructed. Moving beyond previous concepts such as vicarious post-traumatic growth and ‘reciprocal resilience’, the unique finding of the research was women’s and volunteers’ co-construction of resilience and growth interpersonally and intersubjectively. ‘Othering’ narratives were dismantled through shared story and reciprocal human relationships, which allowed for a growthful connection between intra-psychic meaning making and wider community: linking what’s ‘within’ (I) to what’s ‘between’ (we). Consciously paying attention to reciprocal growth processes has empowering connotations for displaced women, those in relationship with them and society itself.
This article analyses challenges for civil society research in superdiverse areas and proposes ways to overcome them. Key components of previous studies are problematised, such as the lack of attention to demographic complexity, the focus on formally registered organisations at the expense of informal ‘below the radar’ initiatives, the over-reliance on analyses using administrative data and building on dichotomous categorisations of social capital. The article calls for scholars to develop methodologies and theory that enable research across the full range of civil society activity. We argue for a holistic approach to researching civil society through comparative and mixed-methods designs that facilitate research about the nature of civil society action, its forms, patterns and experiences. The concept of ‘superdiversity’ is useful to reflect evolving demographic complexity, given age, gender, nationality, religion and immigration status, and divergent experiences of rights and the labour market.