CFP ‘Second World’ in the ‘Third World’: development cooperation between the socialist camp and decolonising world.

In the last decade development experts have been closely watching the increase in global activity by countries such as Russia, China, Brazil and the New Member States of the European Union. The interest of these countries in development and foreign aid is often discussed with some suspicion as a curious novelty, and they are classified as ‘emerging’ or ‘new’ donors. These categorisations reflect the existing distribution of power in global governance and the tendency of Western actors to claim unassailable status as global leaders. They also reflect internal frictions within the European Union between ‘Old’ vs. ‘New’, or ‘Western’ vs. ‘Eastern’ members.

Together with New Perspectives we are issuing a call for articles concerned with the way these reformulations of the global development apparatus suggest a disjuncture with the past. Even though the history of development is rooted, in part, in the rivalry between the Western world and the Soviet Bloc, this past is often neglected in politically-orientated assessments of current changes. Such communal forgetting has profound effects upon current policy-making in development governance: Firstly, it contributes to the polarisation of stakeholders representing ‘traditional’ and ‘emerging’ donors (both within the EU and between the EU and Russia), as well as among stakeholders pressing competing claims to embody ‘best practices’ in the field (e.g. the EU vs. USA). Secondly, it results in discourses that suggest both historical Western monopoly and contemporary Western superiority in the field of international development, assigning neophyte status to formerly socialist actors in this arena. Finally, it facilitates the fashioning of Western development schemes as depoliticised endeavours motivated by predominantly altruistic goals.

Therefore, the objective of this Call is to reconsider the history of foreign aid and its implications for contemporary changes in global governance and the international development apparatus. In order to grasp the nuanced mechanisms involved in this process and to avoid crude interpretations, we look for the papers that will examine development as a set of cultural practices deeply embedded in particular local, national and shared international histories. We are interested in papers that push beyond what are often politically motivated analyses that devalue the development experiences of former COMECON countries (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance), and which are taking these varied experiences seriously.

We look for the papers that will make an original contribution to scholarship on the history of development during the Cold War, and will move beyond the approach which tends to explain the international activities of Soviet allies solely through the lenses of politics, ideology and macroeconomics. We are interested in papers that examine how the different values, worldviews and agendas of various stakeholders (for instance political leaders, economists, experts, project participants, and all those influenced by the cooperation etc.) impacted decision making and development collaboration between different societies, both at micro and macro levels.

We are also seeking contributions which examine how the individuals and institutions who are today responsible for creating the contemporary development mechanisms of former socialist countries use and reflect upon their pasts as both donors and whether they offer alternatives to the dominant ways of thinking about development cooperation.

Possible topics may include but are in no way limited to:

·         Historical analysis of the past development projects undertaken by the ‘Second World’ in the ‘Third World’,

·         Studies problematising the notion of development and investigating it different variants among non-Western donors, and across different time-frames,

·         inquiries examining the after-life of socialist development projects,

·         comparative studies examining differences and similarities between the Soviet-era and neoliberal paradigms of progress, development and modernity,

·         studies  concerned with the back stages of Second-Third world cooperation: examining personal and professional trajectories of people involved in these processes,

·         analysis of these forms of collaborations which are usually omitted in the main-stream approaches to development but constitute an important part of the relationships linking the Socialist Camp and the decolonising world (for instance academic and economic partnerships).

·         Studies examining continuity and disjuncture with the past in the contemporary development cooperation models undertaken by the (re-)‘Emerging’ Donors.

New Perspectives is a multidisciplinary journal, scholars representing both humanities and social sciences are encourage to submit their proposals. Papers which combine historical as well as contemporary studies, are particularly welcomed. There is no regional restriction in this call, and we hope to put together a collection of papers which will represent the past East-South collaboration in all its thematic as well as regional diversity.

Article’s abstracts of longer than 300 words should be submitted to Dr Elżbieta Drążkiewicz ela.drazkiewicz@nuim.ie and Dr Artemy Kalinovsky a.m.kalinovsky@uva.nl by 1st of July 2016. Please include in the subject line: “Special Issue NP”

Decision regarding accepted articles will be made by the end of June, full papers should be submitted by the end of March 2017.


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