Conflict, peace-building and social protection in fragile states
98% of global conflict fatalities of the past 25 years have taken place in fragile states, while almost all countries with extreme poverty and hunger are fragile conflict states. Understanding the causal linkages and the mutual constitution of poverty, conflict and state fragility is therefore essential regardless of whether we study poverty, state fragility or conflict. Research on the interaction of these three elements is the core focus of a number of staff members of the Department of Politics, Languages & International Relations and the Department of Social & Policy Sciences. Consequently, focusing PhD research on a theme that looks at one or several of these themes in the context of the interaction between poverty, conflict and state fragility implies that the project will be supported by an existing research community eager to interact and exchange ideas.
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Exploring the impact of unconditional basic income and community organising on indecent work in India
The project involves trialing unconditional basic income, as well as supporting non-violent community-centered action research and organisation amongst waste pickers in the Indian city of Hyderabad. You’ll explore what impact ‘just giving money to the poor’ can have on people whose indecent work is primarily a result of their poverty, and examine what happens when charity is replaced with more horizontal and relational forms of solidarity.
You’ll join the ERC-funded WorkFREE team. WorkFREE is an international inter-disciplinary collaboration that seeks to trial and prefigure a way doing policy differently, in particular in relation to the 8th Sustainable Development Goal of eradicating ‘indecent work’.
This is not a traditional research project, as it straddles the boundary of research and activism. It emerges out of frustration with contemporary efforts to ‘save’ workers at the margins of global capitalism, given that these tend both to make people’s lives worse and de-politicise the political-economic and socio-cultural structures that lead to their exploitation and exclusion in the first place.
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From crisis to hope: understanding transformative grassroots alternatives for a sustainable future
At the 26th United Nations' Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, world leaders discussed drastic measures to address the climate catastrophe. However, will this be enough?
An analysis of the 6th report of the IPCC, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) explains that “the IPCC report is clear: nothing short of transforming society will avert catastrophe”. In these circumstances, policy attempts to address the crisis must be radically different to avoid the imminent systematic destruction of Earth’s ecosystems.
This project suggests that the key to unlocking the critical global situation resides with those grassroots communities creating alternative practices for sustainable living. These are activities, concepts, world views, or action proposals by collectives, groups, organisations, communities, or social movements challenging dominant systems perpetuating inequality, exploitation, and unsustainability – such as Vikalp Sangam's catalogue of alternative initiatives across India.
The project will use several case studies of transformative alternatives to explore how:
- they are prototyping liveable, democratic, and sustainable futures for all and
- we can translate them into pedagogical tools and materials to enhance academic knowledge.
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