Science, the environment, and development

2006-04-28

in Economics, Oxford, Politics, The environment

Today’s seminar for the Global Economic Governance Program was really excellent, discussing the future of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. On the panel were Jon Cuncliffe, Paul Collier, and Ngaire Woods. Overall, I would say that they agreed more than they disagreed. They primarily identified and discussed two areas of interest: the global financial consequences of the emergence of China and India and the role the Bank and the Fund should play in assisting development within countries that are either stagnating, or finding themselves at the start of an awkward path to reasonable prosperity.

While there, I realized that development might be the missing factor for my thesis. Conversing with Peter Dauvergne by email, he has identified the incredible variety of work already being done in the field of science and environmental politics. I need more of a focus if I am to say something new. To focus on the scientific and environmental questions that exist within the two areas listed above might be a good way to move forward. It captures concerns like China’s growing need for energy and resources, as well as issues like the problems of desertification and lack of decent access to water in sub-Saharan Africa.

Potentially, this is a way of bringing a lot of reading I’ve been doing that is somewhat peripheral to both the program and my thesis back into line. I don’t think it would be wise to extent the topic to consider health, which is also a fascinating intersection between science and development, but to use development to create a balanced triad between science and environmental politics might lend direction and balance, without going off topic.

Dr. Dauvergne also suggested that I read the last few years worth of issues of Environmental Politics: the journal from the MIT Press which he edits, as well as a thesis entitled Advocates, Experts or Collaborative Epistemic Communities by Lindsay Johnson, an MA student of his.

Comments would be especially appreciated on this, since I need to present my preliminary research plan on Tuesday at 11:00am.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous April 28, 2006 at 6:20 pm

You may want to read the work of Marybeth Long Martello. Also, perhaps Sheila Jasanoff. Plus, all of the obvious work like Haas. You will also need to choose cases carefully.

R.K. April 28, 2006 at 6:59 pm

It seems really obvious that you need to review the existing literature before you can really decide. What you have now are areas of interest; they need more content before you can find a space in which to speak and say something original.

For your Tuesday presentation, some elaboration of the above ought to do it. You can probably devote the discussion to narrowing down the topic to something that people seem to consider to be valuable and clearly within the scope of your discipline.

Anonymous April 28, 2006 at 7:26 pm

A seminar you might want to attend:

“Long-term ecological studies: how they help us to understand present-day environmental change”
Dr Richard Bradshaw
Tuesday 2nd May at 4.30pm
Board Room, Ground floor, OUCE, South Parks Rd
Geography Research Seminar Series

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