The onset of the twenty-first century has witnessed substantial shifts in the vectors of economic and political power that undergird the world-system. A key dimension of the ongoing transformations is the process that the United Nations Development Programme referred to in its 2013 Human Development Report as “the rise of the South” – that is, the emergence of major dynamic economies in a number of states across Latin America, Asia and Africa and an attendant translation of impressive growth rates into mounting geopolitical significance. The spearhead of this process has arguably been the Southern BRICS-countries – Brazil, India, China, and South Africa – and it is the recent developmental trajectories of these countries that constitute the focus of attention in this panel discussion.
Evidence suggests that the developmental trajectories of the Southern BRICS-countries are shot through with socioeconomic fault lines that relegate large numbers of people to the margins of current growth processes, where life is characterized by multiple and overlapping vulnerabilities rooted in a lack of access to secure and decent livelihoods, the absence of basic social protection and essential public services, and often also exclusion from established political arenas. Panelists will be concerned with mapping these fault lines, the policy regimes that they flow from, and the political convulsions that they increasingly give rise to, which range from highly localized single-issue protests to sustained social movements oriented towards structural transformation. In doing so, they will offer an important perspective on the political economy of development in the southern BRICS-countries - one that unearths the economic, social, and political contradictions that tend to disappear from view in mainstream narratives and to explore the ways in and extent to which the contentious politics of marginalized groups has impacted on these developmental trajectories, and continues to do so.
About the Panelists
Ching Kwan Lee, Professor, Department of Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles
Karl von Holdt, Director, Society Work and Development Institute (SWOP), University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Prishani Naidoo, Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Ruy Braga, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of São Paulo, Brazil
Fabio Luis Barbosa dos Santos, Associate Professor, Department of International Relations, Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil
Alf Nilsen, Associate Professor, Department of Global Development and Planning, University of Agder, Norway, and Research Associate, SWOP, Wits University.