Journal Article


Reinventing Development Research

Published on 1 March 2007

Does development research need reinventing? If it does, why now and in what ways? These are the questions addressed by the papers in this issue of the IDS Bulletin, many of which were presented at IDS Fortieth Anniversary Conference in late 2006.

They were also asked by the 46 Roundtables held throughout the world in 2006, organised by IDS partners and alumni, which preceded and helped frame the Conference agenda. Much is changing in ‘development’ and its political context. International development issues are becoming more global; inequality, capacity to use and generate knowledge, China’s emergence altering Western assumptions, new sources of financial capital, information shared through the internet, new transnational alliances, sustainable development, consciousness in the West about living conditions in other countries, shrinking spheres of influence of the aid donors, and the blurring of boundaries between domestic and international policies.

Development research has constantly reinvented itself over the years, but for those involved in the IDS40 activities there was a sense that there is a need for development research to make a conscious decision to change direction. In the West, one’s fortieth birthday is known as a watershed year – an ending of one phase of life and a beginning of another. But in many countries the fortieth birthday signals a very different kind of transition as one draws closer to the end of life expectancy. It is natural therefore to reflect on how much has changed in the world since IDS was founded in 1966 and to characterise the above changes as some kind of fork in the road or threshold for development and therefore for development research.

Related Content

IDS Bulletin 48.1A

Introduction: Development Research: Globalised, Connected and Accountable (pdf) Lawrence Haddad

Reinventing Development Research: Listening to the IDS40 Roundtables Lawrence Haddad

Forty Years of Development Research: Transformations and Reformations John Humphrey

From Colonialism to the New Millennium and Beyond Adebayo Olukoshi

The Global Challenge of Inequality José Antonio Ocampo

Development, Research and Change Shalmali Guttal

Global Challenges: Climate Chaos and the Future of Development Wolfgang Sachs

Looking Back from 2046: Thoughts on the Eightieth Anniversary of an Institute for Revolutionary Social Science Michael Edwards

Development Research and Action: Four Approaches Barbara Harriss-White

The Rise of the East: What Does it Mean for Development Studies? Hubert Schmitz

What are the Ethics of Development Studies? Andrew Sumner

Revisiting the “Gender Agenda” Andrea Cornwall

Whose Knowledge Counts? Development Studies Institutions and Power Relations in a Globalised World Hilary Standing and Peter Taylor

Student Reflections on the IDS40 Conference Nicholas Benequista and Ian Macauslan

IDS40: Reflections from Across the Irish Sea Mary McKeown

IDS40: Reflections from Uganda Evelyn Nyakoojo

The Geographies of Development Studies and Research David O’Brien

Development and Policy: Rethinking Hegemonic Concepts and Ideas Vera Schattan P. Coelho

IDS40: Reflections from Tanzania Roy Trivedy


Knowles, C.
Haddad, L


Lawrence Haddad

Honorary Associate

Publication details

published by
Lawrence Haddad and Caroline Knowles
IDS Bulletin, volume 38, issue 2


About this publication

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