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Opportunity: Postdoc position in ‘development-induced displacement and resettlement’

Deadline: 15th of August
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Postdoc position in ASPASIA project: ‘Inside the investment frontier (inFRONT)’ (1.0 FTE)
In recent years global investments in large-scale development projects – for energy production and transitions, infrastructure and urban development, nature conservation and tourism – have proliferated. These land-based investments are increasingly justified under the banner of sustainable development. Proponents argue that the investments are vital to close the dire infrastructural gap across the globe. Critical scholars contend that investment projects for greater public goods and national development generate few opportunities for local populations. However, the project-associated land acquisitions tend to displace people with little responsible follow-up. In this context, ‘resettlement’ is increasingly framed as a new development opportunity, in order to expand new frontiers of infrastructural development and create new jobs and alternative livelihoods for the displaced people, who are often portrayed as those in need of ‘development’.

Previous studies have focused largely on the problems of resettlement by focusing on inadequate compensation or housing and livelihood vulnerabilities in the new areas where the displaced are forcibly resettled. The cultural practices that are disrupted and therefore leading to social disarticulation are also widely problematized. However, these problems keep on being reproduced across various investment projects even when the projects follow the international guidelines or national legislations that oblige investors to conduct ‘environmental and social impact assessments’. The urgent question is: why? What are the structural and fundamental problems that create persisting problems associated with resettlement? What are the wider implications of resettlement for building more inclusive, sustainable and equitable societies? As resettlement projects are part of discourses of pursuing global sustainable development, development geographers need to explore theoretically as well as empirically what resettlement means for more equitable and sustainable development for all.

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