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Human Development in Times of Crisis: Renegotiating social justice

The world economic crisis of the past few years has been the worst in decades. The ‗Great Recession‘ has set back developmental progress in many countries. In industrialized countries in the Global North, many dearly won social protections are being cut back, threatening many people‘s fundamental life prospects. In countries in the Global South, the global recession‘s effects on people‘s basic life opportunities have been even more drastic. Far from being merely a financial crisis, this is also a social and human crisis. Even as the financial aspects of the crisis seem to be attenuating, the associated global crisis about how to conceive and implement social justice and democracy has grown more acute, posing a serious challenge for the task of human development.

The present conditions of advanced capitalism both demand and provide opportunities for re-evaluating and reconceptualising ideas about development and progress. The ideas contained in the human development and capability approach, though conceptually appealing, are only loosely linked to institutional analysis and policy diagnoses. The 2014 HDCA conference will aim to bridge that gap in order to assess and frame opportunities for more capability-enhancing projects and public policies, in both the global North and South. The conference will especially focus on the causes of social inequality and exclusion, and the role of social rights and education—particularly that of vulnerable young people—to tackle these.

The 2014 HDCA Conference warmly invites academics, policy makers, practitioners and other interested parties from all over the world to participate. Original empirical research, theoretical analyses, case studies or reports of experiences, or findings from major research projects, and book panels relevant to the 2014 theme or more broadly related to human development/capabilities approach are welcome.


Conference aims and topics:

The HDCA conference aims to bring together people from all over the world from different disciplines and fields interested in the field of human development and the capabilities approach. Papers on the 2014 conference may explore amongst others, the following topics:

Policy analysis

  • Critical social policy, social crisis, historical analyses and the

common good

  • ―Late‖ capitalism, social problems, participation
  • Social inequality, poverty, social exclusion
  • Welfare production, social organisations, social services
  • Disadvantage, suffering, human security
  • Social movements, social protest, dynamics of civic society
  • Children – social beings and social becomings
  • Programs of enhancing capabilities

Theoretical developments of the capability approach

  • Theoretical developments and research methodology
  • Social justice, social rights, social inclusion
  • Human flourishing, well-being, components of a good life
  • Gender equality, feminist perspectives
  • Bildung, education, agency
  • Environmental and ecological justice, sustainable human development

European challenges

  • European development, social quality, social cohesion
  • Migration, transnational mobility, refugees
  • Unemployment, marginalisation
  • Social prejudice, discrimination, conflict
  • Heterogeneity, diversity, disability
  • Fragmentation of Europe: democracy and austerity

Notice: While the papers may come from any discipline and may be theoretical, applied, or policy-based, every paper must engage with, apply, extend or criticize the capability approach and/or the human development paradigm.


Program Committee:

President: Hans-Uwe Otto, Bielefeld University

Aristides Hatzis, National Kapodistrian University of Athens

Antonios Hourdakis, University of Crete

Adil Najam, Boston University

Spiros Pantazis, University of Ioannina

Andreas Papandreou, National Kapodistrian University of Athens

Henry S. Richardson, Georgetown University Ingrid Robeyns, Erasmus University Rotterdam Frances Stewart, University of Oxford

Martin van Hees, University of Amsterdam

Holger Ziegler, Bielefeld University


Conference Structure:

In addition to keynotes lectures and other plenary sessions, the conference will accommodate five types of sessions:

  • Full academic paper sessions, for which single papers can be submitted. They will be presented in a session with 2 or 3 research papers (30 minutes per paper including discussion/questions). Please send an abstract of 500 - 1000 words, with a list of 3 -5 keywords.

  • Thematic panel sessions are submitted as a whole under a single theme. Each panel should have a coordinator who submits an abstract of up to 1000 words with 3-5 keywords. The coordinator will act as a contact person for the panel session and the other panel presenters.

  • Author meets critics sessions in which an author presents a summary of a recent book or large piece of research. Each author should send a 500 word synopsis of his or her book/ research project with 3-5 keywords and include the names of one to two confirmed discussants.

  • Poster presentation sessions for which dedicated time slots will be available in the program, so that authors can clarify their poster to the circulating audience. Posters could present a research project, some field-work done, a case study, or an early-stage research proposal. Please send an abstract of 300-600 words, with a list of 3 - 5 keywords.

  • Young scholar meets senior scholar sessions in which graduate students will present their research plan or work in progress (proposals should be 500 – 1000 words, with 3 – 5 keywords). HDCA Fellows will provide feedback and chair the discussion.

Please indicate clearly in your proposal under which category you wish it be considered.


Kuklys Prize for best paper from a grad student

At the conference, the HDCA will award the annual Wiebke Kuklys Prize for the best paper presented by a graduate student. All graduate students who will not have received their degree before the 1st of September 2014 and are presenting a paper at the 2014 HDCA conference under their sole authorship are eligible to be considered for this prize. If you wish your paper to be considered for the prize, please indicate this on the submission form. Please note: if you are competing for this prize, the full paper must be submitted by the 31st of July 2014. The winner of the 2014 Wiebke Kuklys Prize will be awarded a cash amount with the aim of contributing to the student‘s graduate work, by allowing her/him to buy equipment or books, or to attend a conference. The name of the winner will be announced at the closing plenary session of the conference, which the author must attend.


Conference registration, fee & scholarships

On-line conference registration will open in the Spring of 2014. Scholars from developing countries, students, and local participants will pay a reduced registration fee. As in previous years, the HDCA also aims to make partial financial assistance available to the first two groups. More information will be made available on the conference website.

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Παιδαγωγικό Τμήμα Νηπιαγωγών (3ος όροφος)

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