WORLD ANTHROPOLOGICAL UNION

CONGRESS 2024​

SELECTED PANEL

( pn85 )

Beyond post-development: inequality, power struggles, and the forging of territories left behind.

Organizers

    Olga Jubany

    Spain

    University of Barcelona

    Face to Face/ On Site - Presence

    Ajmal Hussain

    United Kingdom

    Warwick University

    Face to Face/ On Site - Presence

    Camila del Mármol

    Argentina

    Universitat de Barcelona

    Face to Face/ On Site - Presence

IUAES Affiliation: Migration

Keywords:

Left-behind, post-development, territorial inequalities, marginal areas, territorial imbalance

Abstract:

In the wake of evolutionist conceptions of development, emerging categories rooted in spatialized metaphors are targeting territorial imbalance with the aim to strengthen cohesion policies. It is in this line that the 'Left-behind' concept and framework, as an expression coined amidst the idiom of spatial inequality and geographical differentiation (Martin et al., 2021), expresses the imbalance of the geographic and social divide within countries, regions, cities, towns, and local communities. With origins in the growth of the radical right-wing/populist vote, in the context of the US, UK, and other continental European countries (Rodríguez-Pose 2017; Mackinnon et al., 2022; Dijkstra et al., 2020), this concept has come to bind together the heterogeneity of geographical and sociocultural places and communities. These are connected by their shared hardships, such as economic and demographic stagnation and loss of workers’ status. Yet, such perspectives tend to overlook the spatial logic of contemporary capitalism, structured on the differentiation of geographical space resulting in patterns of uneven development (Smith 1984). This way, the mobilization of reforged categories such as 'Left-behind', has come to impinge on local realities, overlapping into past narratives of marginalization. These further reinforce the categorization of places, fostering developmentalist approaches, largely discussed within post-development debates. Our panel questions to what extent the framework and concept of “left-behindness” offer insights into uneven development, territorial inequality and its political implications, from a global perspective. Aiming to draw together overlaps and differences, we call for contributions based on original ethnographic research to explore the multifaceted nature of "left behindness". We seek to open critical debate on how this is being instrumentalized and experienced in concrete places that may be divergent in terms of North/South geographies, but which may offer new ontological insights for attending to shared conditions of precarity and marginality considered ‘left behind’.