Top reads for your staycation

Published on 23 July 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has meant that many of us will be spending the vacation at home this year. But thankfully, there are a myriad of fantastic books and articles to occupy our time! So, whatever your interest is in international development, here are some of our top picks.

IDS Bulletin

Fifty Years of Research on Pastoralism and Development
Volume 51.1A
Edited by: Ian Scoones
This archive edition reflects on 50 years of research on pastoralism at IDS. Much has changed, but there are also important continuities. The ‘end of pastoralism’ was proclaimed widely in the 1970s, yet, as a successful, resilient livelihood adapted to some of the harshest environments on the planet, pastoralism has survived, and remains an important livelihood for many.

Gender and Energy: Opportunities for All
Volume 51.1
Edited by: Ana Pueyo and Mar Maestre
The global drive to provide universal access to sustainable and modern energy by 2030 is creating numerous opportunities for energy users and suppliers. However, men and women do not benefit equally from these opportunities. Despite these stark gender differences in the energy sector, there has been a lack of evidence to inform more equitable policymaking. This issue of the IDS Bulletin aims to fill some of these evidence gaps through five original papers, produced as part of ENERGIA’s Gender and Energy Research Programme.

The Belt and Road Initiative and the SDGs: Towards Equitable, Sustainable Development
Volume 50.4
Edited by: Edited by Gong Sen, Melissa Leach and Jing Gu
Established in 2013 by President Xi Jinping, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is the source of significant academic and policy debate, in terms of how it is defined and how far it can contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development (Global Goals) by 2030. This IDS Bulletin seeks to explore these debates in more depth, looking at the opportunities and challenges that are associated with aligning the BRI and Global Goals frameworks at local, national and international levels to achieve universal global economic social and environmental goals.

Accountability Amidst Fragility, Conflict, and Violence: Learning from Recent Cases
Volume 50.3
Edited by: Anuradha Joshi
The articles highlight key issues that are central in understanding how accountability pathways unfold in contexts of fragility, violence, and conflict. The issue emphasises the importance of distinguishing processes of accountability from those of empowerment, and recognising the complexities of the relationships between them. As pockets of fragility, conflict, and violence emerge in what have so far been relatively stable places, the initial insights discussed here will be increasingly relevant for tackling these issues globally.


The Politics of Uncertainty: Challenges of Transformation
Edited by Ian Scoones and Andy Stirling
This book argues that uncertainties must be understood as complex constructions of knowledge, materiality, experience, embodiment and practice. Examining in particular how uncertainties are experienced in contexts of marginalisation and precarity, this book shows how sustainability and development are not just technical issues, but depend deeply on political values and choices.

The Routledge International Handbook of Financialization
Edited by Philip Mader, Daniel Mertens and  Natascha van der Zwan
Written for researchers and students not only in economics but from across the social sciences and the humanities, this book offers a decidedly global and pluri-disciplinary view on financialization for those who are looking to understand the changing face of finance and its consequences.

Power, Empowerment and Social Change
Rosemary McGee and Jethro Pettit
This book uncovers how power operates around the world, and how it can be resisted or transformed through empowered collective action and social leadership. The stakes have never been higher. Recent years have seen a rapid escalation of inequalities, the rise of new global powers and corporate interests, increasing impunity of human rights violations, suppression of civil society, and a re-shaping of democratic processes by post-truth, populist and nationalist politics.

Putting Children First: New Frontiers in the Fight Against Child Poverty in Africa
Keetie Roelen, Richard Morgan and Yisak Tafere
This edited volume contributes to the policy initiatives aiming to reduce child poverty and academic understanding of child poverty and its solutions by bringing together applied research from across the continent.

Water for Food Security, Nutrition and Social Justice
Edited by Lyla Mehta, Lyla Mehta, Claudia Ringler, Barbara Schreiner and Shiney Varghese
This book is the first comprehensive effort to bring together Water, Food Security and Nutrition (FSN) in a way that goes beyond the traditional focus on irrigated agriculture. Apart from looking at the role of water and sanitation for human well-being, it proposes alternative and more locally appropriate ways to address complex water management and governance challenges from the local to global levels against a backdrop of growing uncertainties.


Social Norms and Supply Chains: A Focus on Child Labour and Waste Recycling in Hlaing Tharyar, Yangon, Myanmar
Sendrine Constant, Pauline Oosterhoff, Khaing Oo, Esther Lay and Naing Aung
This Emerging Evidence Report examines the social norms, and the material and institutional factors that influence the employment of children in various forms of hazardous work in Hlaing Tharyar township, Yangon, Myanmar.

The Power of Partnerships: How to maximise the impact of research for development
James Georgalakis
Globally, increasing attention is being given to developing cutting-edge research in collaboration with those most likely to use or benefit from it. In July 2019, the Department for International Development (DFID), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), UK Research Innovation, UK Collaborative on Development Research and the Impact Initiative jointly convened a knowledge-exchange event in London. Their case studies and a literature review of development partnership theory was the basis for a set of three inter-related partnership qualities which are listed in this report.

Other resources

  • Other publications: Read our full list of publications and research.
  • IDS Bulletin: A fully open access archive with over 2,600 articles spanning more than 50 years of development research.
  • OpenDocs: IDS’ repository of development publications and peer-reviewed research.
  • Eldis: Sharing the best for development research for policy and practice.
  • Between the Lines podcast: This series explores books with ideas for positive social and environmental change.
  • Responding to Covid-19 – the social dynamics: We have put together a range of resources for those working to understand and shape responses to the virus, as well as longer-term development implications.


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