Popular Representations of Development: Insights from Novels, Films, Television and Social Media

Watch/Listen Again Tuesday 21 January 2014 17:00 to 18:30
IDS Convening Space

The issue of 'development' is normally one that is discussed by social scientists and policy makers, but development also has a wider 'popular' dimension: it can be understood through studying literature, films, television and other non-conventional forms of representation such as blogs and social media.

Michael Woolcock is Lead Social Development Specialist with the Development Research Group at the World Bank, and a Lecturer in Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard

This talk, and the book on which it is based, connects the effort to build a more holistic understanding of development through an exploration of its rendering informs of popular culture such as novels, documentaries and films, which should be regarded as useful and unique complements to (not empirical substitutes for) formal social science.

About the speaker

Michael Woolcock is Lead Social Development Specialist with the Development Research Group at the World Bank, and a Lecturer in Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. His research draws on a range of methods to study the role of social institutions in the survival and mobility strategies of marginalized groups, and the way in which these institutions are shaped by the development process, in the present as well as historically.

He is a co-founder of the Bank's Justice for the Poor program (a ten-country program of operational research on justice institutions from a user's perspective), and contributed to both the 2000/01 and 2006 World Development Reports. From 2007-2009 he was on external service leave as Professor of Social Science and Development Policy at the University of Manchester, where he was the founding Research Director of the Brooks World Poverty Institute.

Prior to joining the Bank in 1998 he taught at Brown University and the University of Queensland (Australia); an Australian native, he has undergraduate degrees from the University of Queensland, a graduate diploma in teaching from Queensland University of Technology, and an MA and PhD in sociology from Brown University.


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