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Development as a Battlefield is an innovative exploration of the multidimensional meanings of – and interactions between – conflict and development. The two phenomena are all too often regarded as ostensibly antagonistic. This was exemplified again in the context of the Arab Spring that erupted in December 2010 and was eventually short-lived in several countries of the Middle-East and North-Africa (MENA) region. This volume – the 8th thematic issue of International Development Policy – is an invitation to reconsider and renew the way social scientists usually seek to make sense of socio-political and economic developments in the MENA region and beyond.

Contributors include: Fariba Adelkhah, Yasmine Berriane, Irene Bono, Ayşe Buğra, Raphaëlle Chevrillon-Guibert, Anouck Gabriela Côrte réal-Pinto, Nadia Hachimi Alaoui, Béatrice Hibou, Adriana Kemp, Nora Lafi. Talia Margalit, Marie Vannetzel, Elena Vezzadini, and Merieme Yafout.
In: Development as a Battlefield

Conflict and development are commonly understood as two contradictory phenomena. Some apparently self-evident ideas, such as gaps in development being a source of conflict and social and political conflict being a major obstacle to development, have been revitalised by the debate about the Arab Spring and used to orient development projects in the mena region. This chapter aims to explore a radically different perspective: we conceive development as a complex social relationship, involving a vast constellation of actors, interests, logics, spaces, causalities and temporalities, and we consider conflict in a multidimensional sense, as an expression of struggle, competition, tension, resistance, opposition and critique. Conceived in these terms, conflict and development appear to be strictly interlinked rather than opposites. Three particular configurations characterise development as a ‘battlefield’: conflicts that create consensus around development; consensus as an expression of conflict; and the definition of legitimate conflicts. There is special focus on the interconnection between different temporal layers characterising the formation of the state and the transformation of capitalism, and the consequences of development for society, the assertion of sovereignty, the definition of social order and how people conduct their lives. This examination of the links between development and conflict thus sheds fresh light on injustice, inequality, modes of government and on how people interpret and live in political society far beyond the mena region.

In: Development as a Battlefield
In: Development as a Battlefield
In: Development as a Battlefield
In: Development as a Battlefield