Call for papers: PILAS Annual Conference 2017 (University of Leeds, 26-27 June 2017)

pilas-banner-mail“Discontinuities and Resistance in Latin America”

Deadlines for proposals submission: 1 March 2017 (papers) and 1 April 2017 (panels).

Latin America is one of the world regions in which borders are malleable or fragile, yet resistant. As its nations seek to establish and assert themselves on a continental and global stage, challenging, and being challenged by, outside influences, historical, political, geographic and economic fault lines often appear to check progress and modernisation. One only has to think of Brazil, which recently hosted a truly global mega-event, with its citizens being keen to present their best face to a watching world after years of economic progress. However, this center stage international performance threatened to be undermined by the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff and worries over the Zika virus. This multidisciplinary conference seeks to explore the discontinuities and resistance in Latin America from a critical perspective.

The Postgraduates in Latin American Studies (PILAS) Committee invites postgraduate researchers and junior academics from the arts, humanities and social sciences fields to present their work, engage in debate, and share their research on Latin America. 

PILAS Annual Conference 2017 will be held at the University of Leeds on the 26 and 27 of June 2017. The Conference is free to attend and will include keynote speakers, a masterclass and engaging social activities.

Professor Eduardo Posada-Carbó (University of Oxford), Professor Manuel Barcia (University of Leeds) and the journalist Patricia Simón (Professional Women in Media Spanish Association Prize Winner) have already confirmed their attendance. 

The theme of the conference is “Discontinuities and Resistance in Latin America”.

We welcome proposals from all fields for this interdisciplinary event. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  1. Race, Ethnicity, and Religion. 
  2. Gender and Sexuality. 
  3. Political Activism, Conflict, and Violence. 
  4. Nationhood and National Identities. 
  5. Migration, Geographical and Cultural Borders Studies. 
  6. Inter-Cultural Dialogue and Polemics. 
  7. Literary and Cultural Criticism. 
  8. Literature, Culture, and Translation. 
  9. Economic Policies and Economic Inequalities. 
  10. Communication and (Digital) Media. 
  11. Climate Change and Environmental Crisis.

The conference will consist mainly of traditional panels of 90 minutes, allowing for three papers of 20-minute each, followed by a 30-minutes Q&A.Papers will be presented preferably in English, although presentations in Spanish and Portuguese will be also considered. Panel proposals should allow three papers of 20 minutes each or four papers of 15 minutes each.

More information and submission guidelines can be found at: pilasconference.com

CONFERENCE: V Latin American and I Central American Conference on Drug Policy (3-4 September 2014, San José, Costa Rica)

V Latin American Conference on Drug Policy

The production and use of drugs is a complex phenomenon that has multiple manifestations depending on the historical moment, the cultural environment, the economic model, the particular circumstances of the country, the various interpretations by the subjects, and the differences between substances.  Nevertheless, it is often reduced and homogenized to the “drug problem”, as if it were a uniform, unhistorical phenomenon.

In the last hundred years, this issue has become a “social matter”, and with the aid of different social actors, including the State, it has been constructed as a social problem.

Drug control policies express tensions, contradictions, and conflicts in regards tohow to regulate consumption and production. Within this framework, local and international debates on drug policy are developing.

In the Latin American context – characterized by enormous social inequality, income disparity, and poverty – these debates cannot ignore the consequences that the drug control policies have produced in the region: social isolation, a disproportionate incarceration of drug users and small dealers or “mules”, social violence, environmental damage, and violations of basic human rights.

In this edition, the 5th Latin American and 1st Central American Conference on Drug Policy aims to act as  a platform for discussion and elaboration of solution-oriented proposals.

For more information, click here.

Researching Security Fellows at the LINKSCH Conference in Brussels

Our Researching Security Fellows Kari Mariska Pries, Verena Brähler and Jorrit Kamminga were invited to participate in the LINKSCH Conference: Grasping The Links In the Chain: Understanding the Unintended Consequence of International Counter-Narcotics Measures for the EU, held in Brussels from 19 – 20 June 2014.

This is how the conference organisers Dr Alex Marshall and Dr Arantza Gomez Arana from the University of Glasgow explained the idea of the LINKSCH project:

“Since the end of the Cold War, there has been an explosion in the international drugs market. The need to reform existing international counter-narcotics policies is widely accepted. However, the impact of these policies in transit chain countries located between source and market is poorly understood. This lack of understanding remains an obstacle to eliminating the unintended consequences of current policies […]. By building on the results of the study, the aim is to produce policy recommendations for a more comprehensive set of counter-narcotics policies that are able to minimise the proliferation of unintended consequences.”

Our Researching Security Fellows were invited to the conference in order to provide a Latin American perspective on international counter-narcotics policies. Kari Mariska Pries explains:

“International counter-narcotics policies have long been a source of contention for origin and transit chain countries. The United States has advanced a “war on drugs” in Latin America, spending billions of dollars on counterdrug aid packages and actively engaging with target government security forces and policy officials. Over several decades, the impact of such international measures has been felt through myriad unintended consequences from the local community level to shifting dynamics of violence, crime and corruption throughout the region.

Not surprisingly, it is in Latin America where we now witness a political movement that increasingly advocates for more effective, humanitarian, and pragmatic drug policies. The latest results are the Report of The Drug Problem in the Americas, which was presented by the Organization of American States in May 2012 and contains several scenarios for drug policy reform, the move towards legalization of the cannabis market in Uruguay, and the decision of Bolivia to withdraw temporarily from the United Nations’ Single Convention on Drugs to change its national reservation on the traditional use of the coca leaf.

In the Andean region, coca eradication programs have alienated rural communities, while spreading cultivation to new areas. Similarly, countries like Brazil, Colombia and Mexico continue to conduct armed forays into criminal strongholds, forcing criminals to migrate to other parts of the cities or to the interior. Less equipped countries such as El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua are more dependent on collaboration with the United States but, nonetheless, mount campaigns against ever encroaching cartels such as Los Zetas or the Texis Cartel.”

Together we proposed to organise a panel on “Chasing Demons or Creating Them? The Unintended Consequences of International Counter-Narcotics Policy in Latin America”. The objective of the panel was to address how international anti-narcotic policies have:
(1) shaped experiences of security and violence in key countries throughout the region; and (2) influenced policy development and implementation perspectives from local communities to regional organisations.

Our conference presentations can be found on our website:

CONFERENCE REPORT: 11th International Conference on Urban Health (Manchester, 4-7 March 2014)

By Natalia Cervantes, Cathy Wilcock and Jessica Roccard (Research Students at University of Manchster)

As part of the 11th International Conference on Urban Health, the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute and the Global Urban Research Centre jointly organised a sub-conference on “Urban Risk and Humanitarian Response”. Our network member Verena Brähler participated in the panel on “Urban violence and conflict: Exploring the response to urban violence”, together with Elena Lucci (via skype) and Dr Melanie Lombard.

Elena Lucci opened the session with the intervention ‘Humanitarian Action in the context of urban violence’ drawing on the lessons emerging from case studies based on humanitarian aid in urban settings experiences. She started by asking the question ‘What is urban violence and why is it important for humanitarians?’ She defined urban violence and then asserted that the characteristics such as dynamism, density and diversity or urban centres, can create enabling environments for violence. There are important lessons from her experience in humanitarian aid. For example: ensuring clear aims from the beginning must a priority; also, acting strategically to develop capacity and linkages in the community that is being served; thirdly, taking a localised approach to violence and to developing the specialized skills that are needed to respond to urban crises.

Following this, was Verena Brähler from UCL, with ‘Inequality of Insecurity in Rio de Jainero, Brazil’. Verena presented the results of her PhD Research. She used a mixed methods approach and, on this occasion, she talked about the quantitative part. Her analytical framework is based on the concepts of inequality and security. Additionally, she measured social cohesion and perceptions of insecurity through a series of surveys in the ’favelas’ and compared the security provision between low and middle-income neighbourhoods. To end such an interesting discussion, the audience contributed to the dialogue with questions about the role of the state in security provision in Brazil. She argues that in the absence of the Brazilian state as a provider of security, poor people have to accept to live side by side to criminals, respecting a silence code in exchange for minimal security provision.

Last but not least, Dr Melanie Lombard explored urban land conflicts with a case study from provincial Mexico. Dr Lombard provided key concepts about land disputes, and conceptual differences between conflict and violence; in Santa Lucia –the case study– the situation of many urban settlements in Mexico is exposed: land is available but unaffordable. As a result, colonias populares or peri-urban settlements arise from the illegal subdivision of previously community-owned land (ejidos). Conflict appears when, under the absence of state presence and a normative dissonance (since the land was neither claimed to be rural nor urban), the interests of key actors, including the state, urban political leaders and local associations clash. She concluded asserting that ‘When violence is used as a tool by actors struggling for political or economic power, conflict over land is more likely to escalate and the urban poor communities are more likely to be adversely affected’.

This was indeed a very intense and stimulating session. Thanks to all the participants!!

The full conference report can be found here.

CONFERENCE: Regional Studies Association Global Conference 2014: From Vulnerable Places to Resilient Territories – The Path to Sustainable Development (27 – 30 April 2014, Fortaleza, Brazil)

In a world emerging from widespread crisis, some regions thrive and have been strengthened whilst others struggle to recover.  Unforeseen events affect regions unevenly, presenting at once opportunities and challenges, prosperity and deprivation. How regions emerge from negative or positive shocks depends on their capacity to learn from their own experience and from that of others, as well as their ability to adapt to new environments in a global economy.

The RSA 2014 Global Conference in Brazil will focus on thinking about paths, policies and ideas to strengthen vulnerable places and to develop cohesive and resilient territories. We acknowledge that only adaptive and flexible regions can succeed in an ever-changing world. This conference offers to all those who share an interest in regional and urban issues an opportunity to explore and discuss these key issues. Our discussions will be stimulated and enriched by the RSA’s well established tradition of embracing and accepting diverse perspective, disciplinary backgrounds and ideas.

Conference Themes

A. Clusters and Smart specialisation K. Regional Integration and Spillovers
B. Innovation and Knowledge L. Spatial Justice and Inequalities
C. Culture and Creativity as a Driver of Regional Growth and Employment M. Spatial Planning and Infrastructure
D. Developing Rural and Peripheral Regions N. Sustainability – Climate Change, Environment, Energy and Food Security
E. The Geography of Crime O. The Geography of Finance
F. Labour Markets and Migration P. Urbanisation and Cities
G. Land Use and the Real Estate Market Q. Regional Policy in Emerging Economies
H. Mega Events and Regional Development R. Leading Regions
I.  Regional Challenges in Health and Education S. Region to Region Trade
J. Policies for Regional Growth and Development T. Economic Development Strategies and Planning

Special Sessions

Plenary Sessions

Regional Growth in Developing Countries Resilient regions and Sustainable Development Territorial Cohesion and Regional Governance
Professor Clelio Campolina Diniz, Rector of Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil Elkin Velasquez, UN-Habitat, Brazil Professor Robert Wilson, University of Texas at Austin, USA
Professor Sérgio Duarte de Castro, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Goiás (PUC/GO), Brazil Professor Carlos Azzoni, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil Professor Simin Davoudi, Newcastle University, UK

For more information, please click here.

CALL FOR PAPERS: Conference: Is a more inclusive and sustainable development possible in Brazil? (3 May – 14 June 2014, World Economic Association, online conference)

Introduction: Main currents in Brazilian socio-economic development

Historically, changes in the orientation and the scope of the Brazilian government interventions have been associated with deep economic and social transformations. In the 1960s and 1970s, the economic outcomes were decisively affected by militarism that turned out to reinforce economic growth with social exclusion. It also led to increasing productive internationalization where key agents have been the transnational corporations from many developed countries. However, the so-called Brazilian model of development led to further concentration of income, wealth, and land ownership. As Celso Furtado pointed out, it was a false modernization as it benefited only a minority reinforcing the structural heterogeneity and inequality. After the 1970s, questions have been raised about the pattern of Brazilian industrialization that led to failed expectations. Those millions of Brazilians that had hoped for a fair and sustainable economy and society were disappointed by stagnant incomes and higher inflation.

Since the 1990s, Brazil has been subject to a new dependency where financial capital tends to dominate social and economic dynamics in a historical setting where the redefinition of the elites is part of the overall financialization process.  Consequently, as of the early 2000s, Brazil has been considered as a promising emerging economy by global institutions and investors. From 2000 to 2008, the expansion of the BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa—benefited from the combined commodity and credit cycle. During this period, Brazil experienced high rates of economic growth and was able to promote the inclusion of large portions of the population in the financial, labor and goods markets. As a result, the economy has experienced near full employment during the two years prior to the financial crisis. Income inequality dropped and inflation was kept under control. Interest rates trended downward. However, external imbalances grew and the manufacturing share of output declined while exports have been mainly driven by commodities. In this setting, the newly discovered underwater oil reserves are a major opportunity and challenge: whereas they can provide funds for investing in education and health services, they also raise the prospect of a possible Dutch disease.

Following the global crisis, Brazil has been seriously affected by the decline of commodity prices. In the last decade, Brazil did not improve key structural features of its economy leading to a sustainable business environment. The lack of long-term investments in infrastructure, for example, is part of the scenario that dampens the expectations around the sustainability of economic growth and social inclusion. As of 2012, only 1.5% of Brazil’s GDP goes on infrastructure investment from all sources, both public and private. To catch up, Brazil would have to triple its annual infrastructure spending for the next 20 years (The Economist, 28th September 2013)

In the aftermath of the global crisis, government intervention have supported aggregate demand and supported social inclusion. However, there are signs that the speed of the consumption and investment growth has been diminishing in a scenario characterized by inflation pressures, lower expectations of bank profitability and a diminishing rate of job creation, among other issues.  Considering the global economic integration, Inflationary pressures have put on pressure on domestic interest rates which attract “hot money” from international “carry-trade” operators and finance. Indeed, this attraction turns out to be considered necessary by the Brazilian government in order to address the trade deficit but renders the economy vulnerable to sudden changes in investor sentiment.

In this context, the long term sustainability of development, growth and social cohesion is called into question.

Call for Papers

This conference will focus on various aspects of inclusive and sustainable growth from the broader perspective of examining their interlinkages with other economic, social, and political processes. Concerns with social inclusion extend well beyond issues of justice and fairness, since the degree of economic inequality also affects social cohesion and political stability, and can also have negative implications for economic growth and sustainability. The broad themes to be covered are noted below. Papers falling within the broad topic of the conference though on aspects not explicitly noted here are also welcome. We welcome contributions from Brazilian and non-Brazilian economists, sociologists and political scientists.

1. Economic growth and development

Main drivers of Brazilian development and growth; Structural change and manufacturing; Economic and social implications of agribusiness;The South-South relations and the impacts on economic growth; Building the human and technical infrastructure: changes in education, training and in technology ;Productivity and growth; The role of foreign transnational corporations;Foreign direct investment and trade during development;The role of Brazilian transnationals ;The role of the State in Brazilian development

2. Problems and challenges associated with Brazilian development

Industrial output in the context of globalization; Balance of payments constraints; The challenges of transnationalization ; The rise of China and its implications on the structure and performance of the Brazilian economy; Challenges to Brazilian enterprises in the context of capital globalization

3. Inequality

Income and wealth distribution; Main drivers of wealth concentration; The rise of rentier incomes; Fiscal policy  and inequality; Gender inequality ; Generational inequality; Policies to lower inequality; Patterns of regional and local inequality

4. The role of finance

Global finance and the implementation of macroeconomic policy; Banking dynamics; Challenges to the development of capital markets;The policy of financial inclusion; Credit cycles and  bubbles; Rentier interests, finance, and monetary policy

5. Wage, employment, and social policies

Main patterns of job creation; Sectoral composition of employment creation and destruction; Gender challenges in the labor market; Educational challenges, employment and wages; Labor market flexibilization: social and economic impact; The role and scope of social and wage policies; Social policies  and poverty; Migration trends; Labor organization and distributive conflicts: the evolution of Trade Unions in Brazil;The changing nature of social classes in Brazil

6. Inclusion and sustainability: major challenges for Brazil

Inclusion and exclusion drivers in the Brazilian pattern of development: economic, social and political inclusion; Regional distribution; Physical sustainability: issues of resources, transport and pollution; Social sustainability; Political sustainability in the context of current social and economic problems; Sustainability of current welfare policies;Regional inclusivity

7. The global crisis and the Brazilian economy

The impacts of the crisis on the Brazilian Economy; Policy responses to the crisis; Public banks after the global crisis;Recovering from the crisis: the Brazilian and international experiences compared

Timetable

Deadline for abstracts: February 20, 2014, Deadline for papers: April 15, 2014

Discussion Forum begins on May 3, 2014, Discussion Forum ends on May 31, 2014

Abstracts and papers should be submitted to weabrazilconference@gmail.com

More information are available on the website of the World Economic Association (click here).

CALL FOR PAPERS: Shaping Peace: Local Infrastructures and State Formation (11-12 September 2014, University of Manchester)

What shapes peace? We are familiar with the top-down interventions organised around military, statebuilding and governance interventions, but what about the local infrastructures of peace that involve local agency? How does this agency create new institutions or interacts with existing ones? What are the sources of inspiration for these local infrastructures, and how do they relate to local, national, regional and international norms and structures of peacebuilding? These issues of hybridity, friction, socialisation and norm-formation raise important questions about the location of power, the temporal nature of international interventions, and the interaction of the top-down and bottom up. In particular, it raises questions about the nature of the state and the role of the international community is a globalised, and globally governed, world.

The ‘local turn’ has raised issues of power, structure, and agency. In particular it has placed the tension between international and local forms of peace mobilisation, and the nature and role of the state into the spotlight, as forms of agency and the state are often entwined in any peace process and settlement. The international community tends to follow liberal peace norms; global governance introduces neoliberal rationalities, and the state is perceived, top-down, as the repository for these contradictory processes. State formation arguments, however, tend to see the state as being formed by local and regional power and violence. All of these perspectives on the political and structural processes that institutionalised peace appear to be oppositional, and offer little space for local agents of peace to engage in peace-making and peace or state formation.

And yet, evidence is growing that peace forms, if only in isolated pockets, on the ground through various forms of contestation, just as the state forms through violence or other clashes of power. Local infrastructures for peace have been seen as a way of building a new social contract, connecting the state to its people, as well as being guided by international liberal and neoliberal preferences. For scholars of peace and conflict studies, such processes are a fundamental challenge. Thus, the conference welcomes single paper and panel proposals on issues relating to Local Infrastructures of Peace and Peace/State Formation, including but not limited to:

– Local initiatives of peacebuilding
Theoretical and conceptual investigations of the factors underlying peacebuilding
– The institutional characteristics of local peace initiatives
– The relationship between local initiatives and the nature of the state
– The relationship between the state and the international
– Local to global peace networks

Deadline for paper and panel proposals: 31 May 2014.

Proposals should be 250 words maximum and sent to: iapcs@manchester.ac.uk Registration costs are £20 for paid academics and £10 for students and the unwaged. The registration fee is waived for current members of the IAPCS.

Conference Committee: Roger Mac Ginty, Oliver Richmond, Birte Vogel, Ioannis Tellidis and Jasmin Ramovic. For questions email birte.vogel@manchester.ac.uk