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"Be wary of rescue narratives that coalesce around a magic bullet solution"

News: Aug 21, 2018

Alissa Trotz, associate professor in Caribbean Studies and Women and Gender Studies at University of Toronto, is one of the keynote speakers at this week’s Development Research Conference (DevRes2018) at the University of Gothenburg.

DevRes2018, one of the largest conferences for the field of development research, takes place on August 22-23. This year’s theme is “Re-thinking Development” and the conference programme covers many current issues such as diasporas, digitization, food security, religion, intellectual property, and health surveillance. Close to 400 international academics, policy makers and practitioners will take part, including many participants from the Global South.

Alissa Trotz will speak about the migration-development nexus, and argues for the importance of problematizing how some migrants are positioned as a resource for development in their home countries. Some diasporic communities are mobilised as a financial or other resource, and used by the state and other actors to fill a function for development.

What are your expectations for the conference in Gothenburg?
“It's my first trip to Gothenburg and to this conference. I’m looking forward to listening to folks coming together to share ideas on pressing and overlapping issues from different parts of the Global South. That cross-fertilization, and the connections that come from encounter and exchange, are usually the things that last well beyond the official programme,” says Alissa Trotz.

What will be your most important message in your keynote speech?
“One of the things that I hope to really communicate is that we must always be wary of rescue narratives that seem to coalesce around a magic bullet solution to persistent problems. Especially when those narratives, and the policies that flow from them, seem to identify as solution what is in effect partly a symptom of deep-seated structural asymmetries in the system of global capitalism.”

In your paper abstract, you write that the diasporic investor is positioned as the antithesis of the migrant as problem, and urge for attention to the limits of this vision of the diaspora-development nexus, please expand a little on this?
“I'm drawing a bit on my observations of what has been taking place in the Caribbean, a region with extraordinarily high levels of out migration. I’m deeply interested in the ways in which this crisis of people leaving, which itself is indicative of a deeper crisis, is being talked about and acted upon by governments and international development agencies. The diaspora is certainly hugely important, and these multi stranded relations are deeply instructive in thinking about solutions to the crises we face; my concern has to do with an emerging consensus that, it seems to me, re/produces differentiation within the diaspora as the latest development approach to the region's problems. For the rest I guess you will just have to come and endure my presentation!”

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Facts: Development Research Conference 2018
The conference takes place at the Wallenberg Conference Centre and in the Annedalseminariet, University of Gothenburg, on August 22-23.

The School of Global Studies (SGS) and the Centre for Global Migration (CGM) are the conference organisers, in collaboration with the Swedish Research Council, Sida and the Gothenburg Centre of Globalization and Development (GCGD) at University of Gothenburg.

Social media: #devres18

Link to the conference webpage

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Page Manager: Amie Almström|Last update: 4/11/2016
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