Developmentalism’s Twilight: Human Rights Politics at the United Nations and the “Long 1970s”

4 June 2018, 5.00 PM - 4 June 2018, 6.30 PM

Room 0A1, Priory Road Complex, BS8 1TN

In Association with FSSL Research Groups on International Development, Global Political Economy, Gender and Work.

Benjamin Meaker Seminar presented by Jennifer Bair (University of Virginia)

Synopsis: During the 1970s, a coalition of developing countries at the United Nations—the so-called G-77—proposed a sweeping programme of structural reforms to the global system of trade, aid and finance.  This project, known as the New International Economic Order (NIEO), was based on the claim that national development and economic sovereignty were necessary for meaningful participation in the international community of states.  The NIEO was largely considered a resounding failure, scuppered by the 1980s Third World Debt Crisis and the rise of neoliberalism more broadly.  Through a focus on contemporary debates around human rights, and particularly the responsibilities of corporations in this regard, this seminar revisits the legacy of the NIEO and questions how fully its vision of state-led developmentalism has been eclipsed.

Jennifer Bair is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia and IAS Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor at Bristol. She has previously taught at the University of Colorado at Boulder and at Yale University. Professor Bair specializes in the study of trade, working conditions and gender in Latin America and South Asia.  Her books include Frontiers of Commodity Chain Research (Stanford University Press, 2008) and her work has been published in journals such as Social Problems, Development and Change, Economy and Society, Environment and Planning A, International Journal of Comparative Sociology, Signs and World Development.  Among her various honours, Professor Bair has received two prestigious awards for her research from the American Sociological Association.  She has delivered keynote lectures to various international agencies including: the International Labour Organisation, the European Parliament and the Collège de France.  She is currently Chair of the American Sociological Association’s Sociology of Development section.

This event will be followed by a drinks reception.

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