Rural Futures Cluster Colloquium: Affordances and Opportunity Landscapes

Wednesday 25 April 2018
IDS Convening Space

This Rural Futures colloquium will create a space for a conversation about the relationship between agency and opportunity, and how this relationship may be explored through the relational, interactional concept of ‘affordance’.

Ethiopia Tigray Province. Credit: Robin Hammond / Panos

How does the concept of affordance help us to think about agency and how it is enabled and constrained by materiality and culture? Why are affordances and opportunities perceived differently by different individuals in the same situation? How does understanding these different perceptions help us to think about the different ‘landscapes of opportunity’ that exist for different individuals? How can we apply these ideas in agriculture, rural development, social protection, digital development, and other fields?

Our discussion will focus particularly on the agency of rural youth and their landscapes of opportunity. Three IDS researchers – two from RF and one from the Digital and Technology cluster – will offer their perspectives on affordances and opportunities, and explain how they are applying these concepts to help understand processes of socio-technical change. As well as sharing information about current work within the RF cluster, our aim is to open a discussion with colleagues about how these interesting and useful concepts might be applied more widely in Development Studies.

The colloquium will also include a short update from RF cluster-member Amrita Saha about a recent project.

The colloquium will be followed by RF-member Stephen Devereux’s IDS members’ lunch-time seminar, in the same room.