The BRICS Effect: Impacts of South–South Cooperation in the Social Field of International Development Cooperation
The growing number of development stakeholders and initiatives in developing countries has added complexity to international development cooperation (IDC). Recipient countries have witnessed the increasing presence of emerging countries such as the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), offering South–South cooperation as an alternative model for development. We call the impact of the new practices of South–South cooperation providers on the prevailing IDC structure the ‘BRICS effect’ – an effect that ultimately destabilises established positions and interaction patterns between agents, and even between traditional donors and recipients. Combining the Bourdieusian notion of social fields with international relations (IR) perspectives on the changing geopolitics of international aid, this article discusses how the BRICS effect challenges established principles and practices from the field of IDC, indicating at least three dimensions: (1) new positions beyond the donor vs recipient dyad; (2) new modes of development cooperation; and (3) transformation of institutional architecture and governance mechanisms.