Confronting uncertainties: towards convivial development in Africa?

Published on 31 May 2023

Ian Scoones

Professorial Fellow

Some readers may be heading to the European Conference on African Studies (ECAS) this week in Cologne, Germany, whether physically or online. The conference’s focus is ‘African futures’ and there is a fantastic set of panels planned, with a bewildering 1900 papers accepted! As the description of the conference theme states, “The future is ambiguous because it is uncertain, unknown, and open; but the future is not completely contingent, as it emerges out of specific pathways, past and present. While some futures appear to be more likely than others, alternative futures compete to shape the present.”

Sadly, I will miss the conference, but a few years ago, in advance of when the conference was supposed to be held but was cancelled due to the pandemic, I contributed a chapter to an excellent book on the conference theme. It is now available open access from Brill, and was edited by Clemens Greiner, Steven Van Wolputte and Michael Bollig, who are all involved with the conference. There are sections on re/thinking, living, confronting, imagining, relating and concluding, with a lot of chapters on many themes. Mine is in the second section and is called, A New Politics of Uncertainty: Towards Convivial Development in Africa, which draws on thinking developed in the PASTRES Programme, supported by a European Research Council Advanced Grant. This blog is an extract from the chapter, removing the cases and the references. I hope it gives you a taste and encourages you to read the book!

This article is from Zimbabweland, a blog written by IDS research fellow Ian Scoones. Zimbabweland focuses on issues related to rural livelihoods and land reform in Zimbabwe.

Read the full story on the Zimbabweland website




The views expressed in this opinion piece are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IDS.


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