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Special Issue "Development at the Crossroads of Capital Flows and Migration: Leaving no One Behind?"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 September 2018

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Annelies Zoomers

Department of Human Geography and Planning – International Development Studies, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, Princetonlaan 8a, Room 6.06, 3584 CB UTRECHT, The Netherlands
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 0031-302532442
Interests: land governance; migration; livelihood analysis; impact assessment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue starts from the idea that inclusive development—and opportunities to achieve the sustainable development goals—will very much depend on flows of capital and flows of people moving in the ‘right’ direction. Over the final decade, the total volume and diversity of capital flows has rapidly increased. In addition to large scale foreign and domestic investments, the world is full of flows of ODA-money by traditional donors, but also money originating from the BRIC countries and new charities (such as the Bill & Melissa Gates Foundation, etc.), and a new community of social businesses and impact investors. At the same time, international migration has rapidly increased, producing worldwide flows of remittances; remittance flows to developing countries are estimated to amount $429 billion in 2016 (1).

Given current dynamics of capital investment and migration, what kind of mobilities are taking place and in what direction. What are the new geographies of development, and what are the consequences of the moving-in and moving out of capital/people (including goods and ideas) for ‘local’ development and achieving the various sustainable development goals.

More theoretically, we argue that flows and circulations of capital and people merit a more central place in theorization about development. “The so-called mobilities turn in social science has undoubtedly been of major significance in challenging the sedentarist assumptions embedded in much social thought” (2), but this is often not reflected in discussions about ‘local’ development (3). Globalization has given rise to new and intensified flows and circulations which will shape places, development trajectories and livelihood possibilities in distinct ways. Local development plays out not just in fixed settings, but is increasingly shaped by the way people are attached to and participate in networks. Rather than looking at ‘local development’ in terms of local people having access and control of local resources’ we acknowledge the importance ‘networked space’ and positionality (4). Given the rapid transformations, accepted notions such as ‘development as a freedom’ (5) are increasingly under pressure. Defining development as ‘expanding the choices people have to lead lives that they value’, we would better understand the link between well-being and the emergence of new types of flow-driven developments coming from the outside. Given the current goal of ‘leaving no one behind’, and benefit from new types of ‘flow-driven’ development, people need to be able to ‘plug in’, ‘deal with the foreign’ and jump on the right train. There is a need for a conceptual update.

References:

1. Word Bank Group. Migration and Remittances. 2016. Available online: http://pubdocs.worldbank.org/en/661301460400427908/MigrationandDevelopmentBrief26.pdf (accessed on 13 July 2017).

2. Walters, W. Migration, vehicles and politics: three theses on viapolitics. Eur. J. Soc. Theory 2014, doi:10.1177/1368431014554859.

3. Zoomers, A.; van Westen, A.C.M. Translocal development, development corridors and development chains. Int. Dev. Plan. Rev. 2011, 33, 377–388.

4. Zoomers, A.; Leung, M.; Westen, G. Local development in the context of global migration and the global land rush: the need for a conceptual update. Geogr. Compass 2016, 10, 56–66.

5. Sen, A. Development as Freedom; Oxford University Press: New York, NY, USA, 1999.

Prof. Dr. Annelies Zoomers
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Flows of capital, flows of people
  • Large scale investment in land (food, biofuels, dams, mining, urban infrastructure etc.)
  • Migration and remittances
  • Moving in, moving out
  • Right to the city – right to countryside
  • Inclusive business – inclusive cities?
  • Gated communities and enclosure
  • Eviction and displacement
  • Resettlement and compensation
  • Sustainable livelihoods
  • Development as freedom
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • Inclusive development

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle ‘They had to Go’: Indian Older Adults’ Experiences of Rationalizing and Compensating the Absence of Migrant Children
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1946; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061946
Received: 2 March 2018 / Revised: 1 May 2018 / Accepted: 22 May 2018 / Published: 11 June 2018
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Abstract
In transnational families, it is often the older adults who are left-behind or choose to stay behind. Currently the population aged 60 years and older in India constitutes over 7 percent of the total population (1.25 billion) and is projected to triple in
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In transnational families, it is often the older adults who are left-behind or choose to stay behind. Currently the population aged 60 years and older in India constitutes over 7 percent of the total population (1.25 billion) and is projected to triple in the next four decades. In the past family has been the major source of support in later life. One of the consequences of increased mobility is the decreasing role of family in care provision. The Indian middle-class norms on higher education, which stressed on engineering and medicine, have resulted in professionally educated children leaving the parental home to seek work and thus family life in other geographical locations. In this paper we examine how transregional and transnational mobilities and the resulting absences impact the lives of older adults. We draw upon 37 in-depth interviews conducted in Dharwad district of Karnataka, India. The results show that older adults employ two strategies of rationalizing absence and compensating absence of migrant children. These strategies reflect the resilience of the older adults to make sense of this trans-local family life, that in a previous generation they were not aware of. Full article
Open AccessArticle Infrastructures as Catalysts: Precipitating Uneven Patterns of Development from Large-Scale Infrastructure Investments
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1286; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041286
Received: 13 March 2018 / Revised: 13 April 2018 / Accepted: 20 April 2018 / Published: 22 April 2018
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Abstract
While infrastructure investments in developing regions may bring about aggregate benefits, the distribution of those benefits cannot be ignored. The present paper examines such distributional effects based on two illustrations: rural roads in Ethiopia and flood control systems in Bangladesh. In both cases,
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While infrastructure investments in developing regions may bring about aggregate benefits, the distribution of those benefits cannot be ignored. The present paper examines such distributional effects based on two illustrations: rural roads in Ethiopia and flood control systems in Bangladesh. In both cases, the infrastructures promote particular development patterns towards market-economic transformations and integration. We liken the introduction of these infrastructures to the addition of a catalyst in a chemical reaction. Rural roads, for example, catalyse existing flows of agricultural labour, while flood control catalyses agricultural productivity. Taking the analogy a step further, the effects of a catalyst are known to vary due to the presence of so-called inhibitors and promoters. Applying this to the two cases, the paper reveals that, among other factors, the ownership (or lack thereof) of modes of transportation in Ethiopia and land resources in Bangladesh represent significant promoters (or inhibitors) that can help to explain the unequal distribution of benefits. This question is by no means new; past technical assistance programmes were already fiercely criticized for exacerbating inequalities. Today, commercial and political interests are again intensifying infrastructural investments in developing regions with profound impacts on local economies and livelihoods. Revisiting the question of distribution is, therefore, as relevant as ever. Full article
Open AccessArticle Rethinking Rural–Urban Migration and Women’s Empowerment in the Era of the SDGs: Lessons from Ghana
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1075; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041075
Received: 24 February 2018 / Revised: 27 March 2018 / Accepted: 3 April 2018 / Published: 4 April 2018
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Abstract
Women who migrate within national borders in Africa have been largely ignored in contemporary conversations about migration. This is partly due to the fact that internal migration, and in particular, rural–urban migration, has been viewed in a negative light in development theory and
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Women who migrate within national borders in Africa have been largely ignored in contemporary conversations about migration. This is partly due to the fact that internal migration, and in particular, rural–urban migration, has been viewed in a negative light in development theory and praxis. This leads to the perception that women who migrate within national borders are worse-off than they would have been otherwise and to a policy stance that seeks to discourage their migration. Drawing on field research in Ghana, I argue that while rural–urban migration gives women access to an independent source of income, the emancipatory potential of migration for women is limited by the official stance towards rural–urban migration and informality. Nevertheless, the decision by women to migrate represents an attempt to improve their life outcomes as well as those of their families, in the face of severely constrained options for doing so. Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG5)—promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment—requires a different approach to women’s internal migration. Rather than seeking to constrain women’s mobility, policy and program interventions should be geared towards expanding women’s freedom to choose whether or not to migrate—by expanding the options available to women who stay at home as well as improving migration outcomes for those who migrate. Full article
Open AccessArticle China’s Confucius Institute in Indonesia: Mobility, Frictions and Local Surprises
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 530; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020530
Received: 24 January 2018 / Revised: 12 February 2018 / Accepted: 13 February 2018 / Published: 16 February 2018
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Abstract
China’s cross-border language promotion body, the Confucius Institute (CI), has proliferated along with the mobility of Chinese capital and people worldwide. It embodies the ‘Going Out’ state strategy that promotes the global spread of Chinese capital, ideas, culture and people. Often seen as
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China’s cross-border language promotion body, the Confucius Institute (CI), has proliferated along with the mobility of Chinese capital and people worldwide. It embodies the ‘Going Out’ state strategy that promotes the global spread of Chinese capital, ideas, culture and people. Often seen as a vehicle of China’s power and influence, the CI has attracted much suspicion and even rejection as compared to similar institutions of other states. This paper examines the mobility of the CI and the encountered frictions when it lands in particular places, problematizing the commonly assumed unidirectional impact of the cross-border institution as a mighty soft power instrument. Specifically, it analyses the frictions of the CI’s establishment in Indonesia, where racial and political narratives on China and Chinese-Indonesians have long prevailed. Three cases are presented: one at the national level in Jakarta and two at the local level in the cities of Bandung and Makassar. By elaborating how frictions are created, resisted and managed differently, this paper illustrates the interplay of actors and power relations in the mobility of the CI, which in turn gives rise to particular local surprises. This paper also underlines the role of the Chinese-Indonesian diaspora as important bridge-builders of their two homelands. Full article
Open AccessArticle Linking-In through Education? Exploring the Educational Question in Africa from the Perspective of Flows and (dis) Connections
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 496; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020496
Received: 19 November 2017 / Revised: 26 January 2018 / Accepted: 11 February 2018 / Published: 13 February 2018
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Abstract
Education is the fourth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and considered an important gateway to many other SDGs being achieved. Education is, however, frequently interpreted in terms of its technical aspects, i.e., furthering skills and knowledge and strengthening human capital for promoting development. By
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Education is the fourth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and considered an important gateway to many other SDGs being achieved. Education is, however, frequently interpreted in terms of its technical aspects, i.e., furthering skills and knowledge and strengthening human capital for promoting development. By contrast, this paper focuses less on this technical aspect and instead analyses the current educational landscape in Africa as a field in which flows of investment, ideas, and people influence connections between Africans and the rest of the world. As an effect of the structural adjustment programs in the 1980s, public spending on education in many African countries went down, allowing private education initiatives to spring up. These were, for a large part, financed by Western and Arab countries. Over the last fifteen years, investment flows in education from emerging global powers like China, Brazil, Malaysia, and Turkey have contributed to an increasingly diversified educational landscape in Africa. This paper argues that these investments not only allow Africans to improve their educational levels but that these diverse forms of education also have an influence on connections and social orientations in African societies. Educational programs go together with specific worldviews. In addition, people develop their social networks through educational trajectories. Both orientations and connections influence people’s choices and opportunities in their further lives, and thus individual and societal development. Interestingly, often investments in education by external parties are not isolated endeavors, but also used as a means to get linked-in in local societies for such diverse purposes as religion or business interests. Illustrating my argument with examples taken from my research on Gulf charities and on Turkish schools in Africa, I will explore how the new connectivities that come with the changing educational landscape in Africa shape (possible) local development trajectories in the current era of intensified globalization characterized by intensified flows of capital, people, and ideas. Full article
Open AccessArticle Agricultural Investments and Farmer-Fulani Pastoralist Conflict in West African Drylands: A Northern Ghanaian Case Study
Sustainability 2017, 9(11), 2063; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9112063
Received: 21 August 2017 / Revised: 24 October 2017 / Accepted: 26 October 2017 / Published: 10 November 2017
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Abstract
In the Global South, there is a push to drive agricultural modernisation processes through private sector investments. In West African drylands, land concessions are required for such agri-businesses are often negotiated through customary authorities, and inject large amounts of money into localised rural
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In the Global South, there is a push to drive agricultural modernisation processes through private sector investments. In West African drylands, land concessions are required for such agri-businesses are often negotiated through customary authorities, and inject large amounts of money into localised rural systems with low cash bases. The article argues that such transactions serve to increase area under crop cultivation on an inter-seasonal basis, as financial spill-overs allow for farmers to purchase larger quantities of agricultural inputs and prepare larger tracts of land. Simultaneously, such direct and indirect cash flows also result in larger local herd sizes and an increase in the number of locally-owned cattle, as cash is exchanged for cattle, largely regarded as an interest-accruing, savings buffer. Larger herd sizes, in turn, attract Fulani pastoralists in search of employment as contracted herders for local cattle owners. Taking Integrated Water and Agricultural Development (IWAD), a private sector, large-scale irrigation initiative in northern Ghana as a case study, the article argues that there is an inevitability of the pathway, which leads from large-scale land acquisitions in West-African drylands, to an increase in conflict (and/or the risk thereof) between sedentary and Fulani pastoralists. Full article
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Open AccessArticle All-Inclusiveness versus Exclusion: Urban Project Development in Latin America and Africa
Sustainability 2017, 9(11), 2038; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9112038
Received: 24 August 2017 / Revised: 30 October 2017 / Accepted: 3 November 2017 / Published: 7 November 2017
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Abstract
This paper scrutinizes current processes of urban fragmentation, segregation, and exclusion that result from the increasing flows of capital in gated communities, walled-off condominiums, and similar exclusivist investment hubs in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. Gated community-like developments are growing and spreading into
[...] Read more.
This paper scrutinizes current processes of urban fragmentation, segregation, and exclusion that result from the increasing flows of capital in gated communities, walled-off condominiums, and similar exclusivist investment hubs in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. Gated community-like developments are growing and spreading into new areas. Although not all of the walled projects offer all-inclusiveness, they are unanimously based on the pre-selection of specific categories of residents. Moreover, all-inclusive urban developments are taking on new and more encompassing forms, such as ‘gated cities’. Hence, socio-spatial inclusion and exclusion in the urban built environment are continuously transforming under the influence of investment capital (i.e., new urban investment flows and speculation), urbanistic concepts (e.g., different interpretations of safety and crime), and human mobilities. This paper builds on a comparison of empirical cases from Latin America and Africa to develop a qualitative framework of segregation indicators. In Latin America, gated communities have a long history, but exclusionary developments are changing in form, as well as in implications. In Africa, research on gated communities has particularly focused on South Africa (where they have a longer history), but exclusionary developments are spreading rapidly across the continent, and will influence future real estate development and land markets. Based on such complementary experiences, this paper grapples with the question of how these new all-inclusive developments influence the possibilities of achieving inclusive and sustainable urban transitions, as advocated in Sustainable Development Goal 11 (SDG11) and the New Urban Agenda. Full article
Open AccessArticle Livelihood Implications and Perceptions of Large Scale Investment in Natural Resources for Conservation and Carbon Sequestration: Empirical Evidence from REDD+ in Vietnam
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1802; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9101802
Received: 28 August 2017 / Revised: 27 September 2017 / Accepted: 28 September 2017 / Published: 5 October 2017
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Abstract
The complex relationship between local development and current large scale investments in natural resources in the Global South for the purpose of conservation and carbon sequestration is not fully understood yet. The Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation programme (REDD+) is an
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The complex relationship between local development and current large scale investments in natural resources in the Global South for the purpose of conservation and carbon sequestration is not fully understood yet. The Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation programme (REDD+) is an example of such investment. This study examines the livelihood implications and perceptions of REDD+ among indigenous and forest-dependent communities in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. A systems-based livelihood survey has been conducted with two communities affected by REDD+ (n = 102)—Kala Tonggu village (participating in UN-REDD, a multilateral programme) and Hieu commune (participating in a REDD+ project of Fauna and Flora International). The positive effects of REDD+ included: introduction of community-based forest management; shifting power relations in favour of local communities; communities receiving financial benefits for forest monitoring; and positive community perceptions on REDD+. The negative impacts concerned: more restricted access to the natural forest; raising false expectations on the financial benefits of REDD+; increasing risks of food insecurity; exclusion of customary institutions and forest classifications; and lack of livelihood alternatives in dealing with changing socio-ecological conditions. Based on the findings of this study, we argue that REDD+ implementation needs to incorporate the temporality and dynamics of community livelihoods, power relations, and customary and formal socio-ecological systems more comprehensively. This to ultimately achieve inclusive local development and effective conservation of global forest commons. Full article
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