2022 HDCA Conference – Antwerp, Belgium

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The HDCA annual conference will take place from 19-22 September 2022.

“Capabilities and Transformative Institutions”

How can we organize for the world of tomorrow? Covid-19 has taught us that we are not ready. We have re-discovered our common vulnerability – not only to a virus, but also to policy mismatch, institutional hiccups and authoritarian backlash. Divided we stood, unable to act in concert, lacking real opportunities for deliberation. How can we improve the structures of living together and face the challenges ahead to build a more just and sustainable world? The HDCA Conference 2022 puts this question center stage.

Institutions, social arrangements, or the structures which emerge from our social living, have been conceived in different ways in the variety of disciplines that engage with the capability approach. The conference will provide an opportunity to let these various understandings speak to and learn from each other.

Conference Theme

“Capabilities and Transformative Institutions”

Institutions, social arrangements, or the structures which emerge from our social living, have been conceived in different ways in the variety of disciplines that engage with the capability approach. The conference will provide an opportunity to let these various understandings speak to and learn from each other.

More specifically, we would like to invite work on capabilities and institutions related to three particular issues:

First of all, we invite contributions that explore the interrelation between institutions (economic, political, social, cultural) and people’s opportunities to be and do what they value, with a special emphasis on how institutions may have an unequal impact on different social groups. Sen’s early work on the role of democracy in preventing famines and, more generally, on the way in which economic and political incentives may exacerbate or overcome social divisiveness, both within and across national borders, points to the importance of this issue.

Secondly, diverse disciplines and strands of the literature provide different angles from which to discuss individual agency in relation to social structure and our ability to act in concert. It is not only that human sociability is intrinsically rewarding (regardless of the material benefits provided by different social structures), but also—as authors like Paul Ricoeur, drawing on Hannah Arendt, argue—that the “structures of living together” play a constitutive role in situating both ourselves and others as distinct yet equivalent beings and in shaping structures of solidarity. Further contributions to this debate can inspire us to find new ways to transform unjust structures and unsustainable ways of living.

Thirdly, institutions organize collective decision-making. In the work of both Martha Nussbaum and Amartya Sen, considerable room is made for “government by discussion” as a crucial link between individual ideas about the good life and reasoned social choice. The reflection on ways to deepen democracy and to promote participation at multiple levels of decision-making has been part and parcel of the development debate in the Global South. In the Global North, this reflection has recently taken another turn, with the emergence of what has been called “polaritics”, the related debates on the potential of the New Media to contribute to or challenge democratic decision-making, and on the impact of economic inequality on democracy.

Welcome to Antwerp!

The UAntwerp has an important research and teaching tradition in social justice and active pluralism in the social and human sciences. The Conference has been set up in such a way that all social and human science faculties participate in it.  We can also count on the The University Centre Saint-Ignatius Antwerp (UCSIA), well versed in building bridges between academia and wider society in the area of  social justice.

This Conference will also be the culmination of the 20th anniversary year of the Institute of Development Policy (IOB). The  Human Development & Capability Association stands for a multi-dimensional vision of development, as it gives central attention to human agency as both the end and the means of development and as it assigns a constitutive role to public debate and deliberation in the development process. In this, it provides for the core ingredients of the work the IOB has been cultivating over the last two decades.

The conference venue is located at a mere 10 minute walk from the old city center of Antwerp, with many opportunities to relax, have dinner or simply stroll around.  Throughout history, and today, Antwerp connects to the world through its inland port, with direct yet sheltered access to the North Sea.  During the pre-conference you will have the opportunity to explore one or more  traces of the traditions that have been shaping the city.

Call for Proposals

Institutions, social arrangements, or the structures which emerge from our social living, have been conceived in different ways in the variety of disciplines that engage with the capability approach. The conference will provide an opportunity to let these various understandings speak to and learn from each other.

We invite scholars, activists, policymakers, practitioners, and students working in the area of human development and capabilities to Antwerp, Belgium. We especially welcome those who are new to the field, introducing us to fresh ideas and perspectives.

We look forward to hosting participants from a wide range of research themes, topics, methods, professions, and regions to engage in innovative conversations with each other, and to find new synergies in advancing the core aims of the Human Development Paradigm. We would also like to expressly invite participants from the Global South, from ethnic minorities and from Indigenous peoples.

More specifically, we would like to invite work on capabilities and institutions related to three particular issues:

First of all, we invite contributions that explore the interrelation between institutions (economic, political, social, cultural) and people’s opportunities to be and do what they value, with a special emphasis on how institutions may have an unequal impact on different social groups. Sen’s early work on the role of democracy in preventing famines and, more generally, on the way in which economic and political incentives may exacerbate or overcome social divisiveness, both within and across national borders, points to the importance of this issue.

Secondly, diverse disciplines and strands of the literature provide different angles from which to discuss individual agency in relation to social structure and our ability to act in concert. It is not only that human sociability is intrinsically rewarding (regardless of the material benefits provided by different social structures), but also—as authors like Paul Ricoeur, drawing on Hannah Arendt, argue—that the “structures of living together” play a constitutive role in situating both ourselves and others as distinct yet equivalent beings and in shaping structures of solidarity. Further contributions to this debate can inspire us to find new ways to transform unjust structures and unsustainable ways of living.

Thirdly, institutions organize collective decision-making. In the work of both Martha Nussbaum and Amartya Sen, considerable room is made for “government by discussion” as a crucial link between individual ideas about the good life and reasoned social choice. The reflection on ways to deepen democracy and to promote participation at multiple levels of decision-making has been part and parcel of the development debate in the Global South. In the Global North, this reflection has recently taken another turn, with the emergence of what has been called “polaritics”, the related debates on the potential of the New Media to contribute to or challenge democratic decision-making, and on the impact of economic inequality on democracy.

While the conference call is open to all types of contributions that engage with the broader theme of human development and capabilities, we would especially like to invite contributions that engage with one of the above three broad areas.

In addition to contributions on the conference theme, the conference will also be a meeting place for the HDCA’s thematic groups and regional networks.

For the various formats we propose, please check here.

Please note:

·       Since we expect a large number of submissions, each person is allowed to be involved in a maximum of two proposals and these must be for different types of sessions (e.g. full paper and thematic panel)

·       The same proposal may not be submitted more than once to different kinds of sessions, for example, full paper, poster, and young scholar.

·       You will be required to identify the broad theme for your proposal to enable us to allocate it to reviewers (for example, education or health).

·       For panel proposals, the panel organizers may not substitute a non-reviewed paper if a presenter withdraws.

The main criteria for evaluating the various kinds of submissions are:

  • Novelty/originality
  • Clarity and structure
  • Significance/impact/relevance to/engagement with the capability approach and/or human development
  • Methodology/methods or practical application
  • Fit with the conference theme

While the proposals may come from any discipline and may be theoretical, applied, or policy-based, every submission must engage with, apply, extend, criticize, or offer insights specifically relevant to the capability approach and/or the human development paradigm.

To ensure academic quality, all submissions will be assessed by two reviewers, at least one of whom is an HDCA Fellow or a senior researcher in the field.

 

Parallel Sessions: Types of Proposals

In addition to keynote lectures and other plenaries, the conference will accommodate nine types of sessions:

    1. Academic paper sessions, for which single papers can be submitted. Each paper will be presented in a session with 2 or 3 other submissions (25 minutes per paper including Q&A). Please send an abstract of 500-1,000 words, with a list of 3-5 keywords.
    2. Research and Action sessions, for which presentations or a set of presentations can be submitted, describing and analysing a particular field of action and the way it links with the human development paradigm and/or capability approach. Each session will include 3 or 4 other presentations (20 minutes per presentation including Q&A). Please send an abstract of 500-1,000 words, with a list of 3-5 keywords for the whole set of presentations. In addition, an abstract of 500-1,000 words, with a list of 3-5 keywords, should accompany each single presentation. A coordinator will act as the contact person for all presenters.
    3. Thematic panel sessions, for which a set of presentations on a single theme related to this year’s conference theme or to the subject of one or more of the HDCA’s thematic groups is submitted. Panel proposals are welcome from the thematic group coordinators as well as from people unaffiliated with them. We particularly welcome interdisciplinary panels and panels that combine academic perspectives with those of practitioners. Each thematic panel should have a maximum of three presentations. It is also possible to propose two panels on the same theme. Each theme must have a coordinator who submits a panel abstract of up to 1,000 words, plus 3-5 keywords. In addition, an abstract of 500-1,000 words, with a list of 3-5 keywords, should accompany each presentation. The coordinator will act as the contact person for the thematic session(s) and the other panel presenters. (NB: If not all of the papers in the proposed panel session are evaluated favorably, the approved papers will be regarded as individual submissions and may be allocated to the sessions listed in point 1.)
    4. Author-meets-critics sessions, in which an author presents a summary of a recent book or larger piece of research. Each author should send a 500-word synopsis of the relevant book or research project, along with 3-5 keywords. The submission should also include the names of one or two confirmed discussants. Discussants can be researchers, but we particularly encourage including at least one practitioner (or organization) as proposed discussants.
    5. Roundtables, which are intended to engage policymakers or (non-)governmental stakeholders, or to organize discussions with practitioners about practical approaches to dealing with the problems that are the focus of the conference. Please send a 500-1,000 word abstract, plus 3-5 keywords. Also include information on the roundtable participants, affiliations, and whether the participation of each of them has been confirmed. Submissions can be academic-led or practitioner-led.
    6. Poster exhibition, for which dedicated time slots will be available in the program so that authors can communicate their ideas to the circulating audience. Posters could present a research project, some completed fieldwork, a case study, or an early-stage research proposal. Please send an abstract of 300-600 words, with a list of 3-5 keywords.
    7. PechaKucha presentations with an online presentation of your work in the standard PechaKucha format. These presentations can cover a research project, some completed fieldwork, a case study, or an early-stage research proposal. Please send an abstract of 300-600 words, with a list of 3-5 keywords.
    8. Young-scholar-meets-senior-scholar sessions, intended for graduate students to present their research plan or work in progress (proposals should be 500-1,000 words, with 3-5 keywords). Senior scholars, including HDCA Fellows, will provide feedback and chair the discussion.
    9. Documentaries. If you would like to present and discuss your film or documentary during this conference, please send in a proposal with background and motivation (500-1000 words).

 

Program and Organizational Committees

Program Committee

Alejandra Boni, Ingenio, CSIC Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain

Bea Cantillon, Faculty of Social Sciences UAntwerp, Belgium

Koen De Feyter, Faculty of Law, UAntwerp, Belgium

Jay Drydyk, Philosophy Department, Carleton University, Canada

Guido Erreygers, Faculty of Business and Economics, UAntwerp, Belgium

Faith Mkwananzi, University of the Free State, South Africa

Elaine Unterhalter, Centre for Education and International Development (CEID), UCL, UK

Tom De Herdt, Institute for Development Studies, UAntwerp, Belgium (conference chair)

Organizational Committee

Tom De Herdt, Institute of Development Policy, UAntwerp

Michael Domen, Institute of Development Policy, UAntwerp

Vicky Verlinden, Institute of Development Policy, UAntwerp

Barbara Segaert, University Centre Saint-Ignatius, Antwerp (chair)

For all enquiries, please email hdca2021@uantwerp.be