The SDC research programme addresses three thematic areas that aim to answer fundamental/theoretical as well as applied questions related to development and socio-cultural change.
These research themes are interrelated in many ways. Therefore, research on them focuses on the dynamics between the various interacting and mutually dependent fields involved.
- Resources, rights and livelihoods: Explores the dynamic interactions between resources and their exploitation, domination and conservation. With resources we refer to land, food, minerals and the environment but also to knowledge, information and heritage. This theme foregrounds contestations over resources and how these are created and framed through global structures of neoliberal governance, legal and extra-legal frameworks and lived realities;
- Crisis, reordering and resilience: Engages with change and re-ordering of society associated with crises and disasters and their aftermath in which new linkages, institutions and livelihoods may develop. Crises and natural or human-made disasters are seen as complex processes of reordering with historical, present and future dimensions rather than unproblematic, manageable routines of ‘disaster risk reduction’, ‘relief’ and ‘reconstruction’;
- Reassessing divides and boundaries: Focuses on the material and discursive dynamics that change old divides and bring about new ones. We study how (ontological, epistemological, empirical or other) boundaries are shaped, steered, used, strengthened or weakened; divides such as global-local, urban-rural, powerful-marginalized, whole-parts, developed-undeveloped, crisis-normality. Divides and boundaries are operationalised and studied on all levels, including practical material levels and on the level of knowledge and science, in order to understand their practical, epistemological and ontological consequences for broader process and structures of development and change.