The theme of this special issue of the IDS Bulletin, ‘Reinventing Development Research’, is doubly immodest. First, as Lawrence Haddad points out (see page 1), devoting a conference and an issue of the IDS Bulletin to this theme assumes that development research is in need of reinvention. Second, the stated mission of IDS, to ‘make a difference’, implies that any reinvention is not only an intellectual exercise, but also one that will change policy and have an impact on welfare and livelihoods.
Nevertheless, the task is made less daunting by the fact that ‘development research and development studies’ has continually reinvented itself over the past halfcentury. The subject matter, methods and priorities of the 1960s are substantially different from those of the 1990s, for example. New themes and issues are arising all the time.