Volume 7, Issue 1 (2016)


A Decentralization in Governance Project Screening Indicator for NGOs and International Organizations
David Lempert
The article offers an easy-to-use indicator for scholars and practitioners to measure whether NGOs, international organizations, and government policies and projects uphold the international legal consensus and related professional standards for “decentralization”; a euphemism that has replaced the universal principles in international treaties for promoting “self-determination” and decolonization. Use of this indicator on more than a dozen standard interventions funded today by international development banks, UN organizations, country donors, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) reveals that most of the major actors in the field of development have failed to follow international guidelines that many of them are bound to follow and appear to be using “decentralization” as a cover for new forms of colonialism that are simply more efficient. The indicator helps to further codify international development law and points to specific areas for holding organizational actors accountable to international agreements in order to promote development goals of sustainability and good governance. This article also offers a sample test of the indicator using UN Habitat’s Decentralization Guidelines as a case study.

Can the Subaltern be Heard? Knowledge Production, Representation, and Responsibility in International Development
Siavash Saffari
What are the limitations of representation in the production of international development knowledge? This paper argues that by engaging in the practice of defining the needs, priorities, and collective goals and ambitions of the recipients of development projects in the global South, development experts and knowledge producers in the global North have contributed to the further marginalization of subaltern voices and knowledges. Moreover, this asymmetrical power relationship in knowledge production has led to the deeper entrenchment of the hegemonic Eurocentric, capitalist, and neoliberal norms and practices in international development. Drawing on a body of critical scholarship that emphasizes indigenous voices and knowledges, a case is made that for subaltern voices to be heard privileged experts and knowledge producers have a responsibility to disoccupy the discursive space in which development norms, objectives, and strategies are defined.

Sustainable Development Goals - An (Alternative) Future Scenario
Albert Denk
Twenty-first century globalization is ubiquitous – global interconnectedness affects all areas of life. This development entails the need for alternative future scenarios on a global scale. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) illustrate a global strategy for facing global instabilities within the realms of economic development, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability. The author examines the SDGs within the realms of fragmentation, legal obligations, and participation. It will be shown that the selection of dimensions is inadequate; there is need for a legally binding agreement as well as for strengthening participatory approaches.

Ethnoscape-Financescape Interface: Work Space Experiences for Indian Guest-workers in Germany
Amrita Datta
This paper looks at and explores the socio-cultural experiences of exclusion and inclusion for Indian guest workers in Germany, within the larger discourse of economic globalization and international migration of labour. At the theoretical level, the paper draws directly from Arjun Appadurai’s concept of ‘scapes’ coming together to constitute ‘disjuncture of flows’. Here ‘guest-worker’ is not the quintessential ‘Gastarbeiter’ rather a league of Elite Migrants as they have come to be known as. They comprise mostly IT, Banking and Finance professionals and are a part of the global economy due to economic liberalization and globalization. The salient focus of this paper is to evaluate the work space experiences of differential levels of exclusion and inclusion for Indian guest workers in the host society. Within the work space that largely defines the ‘finanscape’, Indian guest workers in the host society are subject to both universalistic principle of capitalism on one hand and their ethnic particularities on the other. Within this context, this paper aims at exploring how the subjects perceive and negotiate with and if they experience social exclusion or inclusion in the process.


Dialectics: the Ontological Basis of Self-Formation and Social Existence
Leon Miller
The East and West base their understanding of self and social formation on Dialectics. This article argues that Dialectics continue to play a role in the development and progression of civilization in both the East and the West, because of the relevance of its perspective on self and social formation along with its contributions as to how to have beneficial interactions with the natural order. That is to say, that in both the East and the West, Dialectics developed into a perspective on the ontological basis of human nature (i.e. humanity’s pre-cognitive instinctual predisposition) and how the self as ordained by the forces of nature can be enhanced by cultivation within a culture to improve social and environmental relations. This article explains the concepts and principles related to classical sociology and why they continue to be considered a viable basis for a scientific perspective on the ontological basis of global social existence. In this sense the article proposes that the concepts and principles of classical sociology continue to be relevant to the contemporary challenges humanity faces in its attempt to shape global social existence in a way that contributes to increasing beneficial interactions with others as well as with the natural order.


Aligning the Two Main Approaches to the Study of Democratization
Samsondeen Ajagbe
This article approaches democratization from the point of view of an assemblage of two main social forces - the elite and the institution. It draws on the Actor-Network Theory (ANT) ontology of association to connect structural and agential traditions- that treat elite and institution as separate entities-in the field of democratization research. It argues for the viability of ANT's ontology of association as a lens for understanding democratization as a domain-independent association of elite agency and institutional norms. This complex interdependency between agency and structure manifests in politics in ways political practices and actions are fabricated as permissible in the state of affair.

Bourdieu in Japan: Selective Reception and Segmented Field
Kie Sanada
Bourdieu's overall theory of social inequality explains that the existence of social inequality has been perpetuated in the re exive relationship between the the- ory of cultural reproduction and the theory of symbolic violence. Regardless of their inseparability, an asymmetrical development in the reception of Bourdieu's ideas is apparent in the relevant fields of study in Japan. The myth of an egalitarian society and strong domestic political interests to establish the positive relationship between the proliferation of educational opportunity and upward social mobility have contributed to keeping scholars primarily focused on the theory of cultural reproduction. On the other hand, the theory of symbolic violence has been rejected as being specific to the French context. The general lack of reflexivity between the theory of cultural reproduction and the theory of symbolic violence indicates that Bourdieu's habitus theory has been appropriated in the Japanese cultural context as a simple analytical tool, while his overall theory exists as a discursive totality in discourses. Due to this asymmetrical development, regardless of the fact that Bourdieu, himself, pointed out the relevance of his theory to Japanese society, those studying Bourdieu in Japan itself have failed to produce relevant knowledge regarding the nature of social inequality in Japan.

Social Structure and Globalization of Political and Economic Elites in India
Suraj Beri and Christian Schneickert
Contemporary Social Sciences show a strong interest in studying power and domination in postcolonial societies. Elite research has become crucial to understand the changes in the political and economic dimensions of power structures in the context of democratic experience and economic development in countries such as India. These changes can be located within social structures and the globalization of elites. This study is an attempt to make sense of the ongoing transformations happening in the field of power in India. The existing scholarship on elites in India has been more related to socio-political transformations post-independence, and less on the relation between globalization and changes in the composition of political and economic elites in India. Therefore, we study the context and impact of the process of globalization on the social background of these elites and the emerging larger dynamics regarding socio-economic changes in the Global South.

Gauging and Engaging Deviance 1600-2000, by Ari Sitas et al.
A Book Review by Yorim Spoelder

Changing India: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, edited by Gernot Saalmann
A Review by Maryam Papi