Latest Issues

Building a Better World: The Crisis and Opportunity of Covid-19

Volume 52 Number 1 March 2021

Edited by: Peter Taylor and Mary McCarthy

The current global pandemic of Covid-19 is a health crisis of massive proportions that has also accelerated a series of other crises, threatening livelihoods, economies, and societies. Many of the responses and reactions to the pandemic are exposing, and potentially deepening, foundational cracks in society, heightening fragilities and vulnerabilities in systems of all kinds.

This IDS Bulletin asks some fundamental questions about the kinds of challenges now manifesting due to the pandemic around health, food equity, social protection, gender equality, governance, and freedom of religion or belief. It explores, through a range of analyses and focused case studies, what vulnerabilities are being experienced in specific contexts, but also assesses the value of different responses to these vulnerabilities.

If this crisis has taught us anything, it is about the importance of not simply reacting to events that have materialised, but also in anticipating and predicting likely future shocks and building in capacity to deal with sudden surges. This IDS Bulletin reflects on how a shared future can be collectively and equitably shaped – and even transformed – in the light of experience of Covid-19.

Many of the articles in this IDS Bulletin draw on conceptual and theoretical framings that help us understand better where we have come from and where we may be heading. Looking towards the future, they offer practical examples of community resilience, experimentation, innovation, and collective action, demonstrating that it is genuinely possible to build forward differently.

Collective Action for Accountability on Sexual Harassment: Global Perspectives

Volume 51 Number 2 September 2020

Edited by: Mariz Tadros and Jenny Edwards

The #MeToo movement that spread across the internet in 2017 sparked a focus on sexual harassment as an international issue. However, collective action against sexual harassment did not start with the #MeToo campaign. Grass-roots work that has been taking place for years against sexual harassment has been hidden by the more recent spotlight on a (white) Western perspective. This IDS Bulletin presents the genealogy of collective action around countering sexual harassment and looks at the power dynamics that have informed the representation of that collective action. It seeks to pluralise voices, experiences, and insights that offer opportunities for learning, and to show the pathways for mobilising for accountability. The articles here specifically aim to address the questions of ‘What triggers and enables collective action for countering sexual harassment to hold powerholders accountable? Under what conditions is it effective, and under what circumstances is it stalled?’ Perspectives are shared from Australia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Egypt, India, Lebanon, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Spain, and Uganda. They demonstrate a whole spectrum of experiences from well-defined and visible collective action to contexts where voices are still silenced. Collective action, this IDS Bulletin argues, is critical for transforming sexual harassment into an issue that is everybody’s business, and accountability must be for the long haul. Recognising the successes of activists fighting sexual harassment, wherever they are located, is essential to the global fight against this phenomenon.

Fifty Years of Research on Pastoralism and Development

Volume 51 Number 1A May 2020

Edited by: Ian Scoones

This archive IDS Bulletin reflects on 50 years of research on pastoralism at IDS. Much has changed, but there are also important continuities. The ‘end of pastoralism’ was proclaimed widely in the 1970s, yet, as a successful, resilient livelihood adapted to some of the harshest environments on the planet, pastoralism has survived, and remains an important livelihood for many.

Over the last 50 years, both pastoralism and development have changed massively. IDS work has attempted to bridge the gap between theory and practice, and to insert new understanding of pastoralism into development planning. This has involved building a coherent analysis of policies and institutions for pastoral development, and then helping to see the results of that analysis put into practice.

The issue brings together 13 articles on pastoralism published in the IDS Bulletin between 1986 and 2017. The articles address six overlapping themes: pastoral livelihoods; institutions and common property resource management; climate change and ecological dynamics; food security, early warning, and livelihood vulnerability; pastoral marketing; and conflict and governance.

Across these themes, IDS research has challenged mainstream development thinking and practice, highlighting the importance of mobility and living with uncertainty. Research has also challenged the standard models derived from settled systems, and emphasised flexibility, opportunism, and improvisation as responses to uncertainty.

Although massively changed over 50 years, and despite repeated proclamations of crisis and collapse, pastoralism remains, we argue, an important, resilient source of livelihood in  marginal rangeland areas across the world, from which others can learn.