Research Group Normative Foundations of Development Policy
From Wikiprogress.orgResearch Group Normative Foundations of Development Policy is part of the Cluster of Excellence on the Formation of Normative Orders at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It was established in December 2008 and is headed by Prof Dr Stefan Kadelbach, an expert in international law and one of the principal investigators of the cluster. The Research Group comprises PhD students from multiple disciplinary fields, such as international law, philosophy, political science, sociology and cultural anthropology.
In their research projects (PhD) group members focus on questions pertaining to the normative orders and foundations of development cooperation. In particular, the research aims to study the actual appearance and/or theoretical desirability of such orders in different areas of development policy.
Since the aggregate concept of “development” is at the heart of any normative foundation and justification of development policy, a major objective of the group as a whole is to provide for a more accurate framing and conceptualization of the concept by uncovering its distinct use and utility in theory and practice. In this realm group members work on specific sub-components (e.g. education, food security, rule-of-law, human rights), on ways to operationalize such components, and on analyzing given policy operationalizations. Others are concerned with measuring comprehensive development with a focus on identifying the most ultimate goals of it as the yardstick for validity checks.
The Research Group acts as a correspondent on Ethics of Universal Progress Measurement within the OECD Global Project for Measuring the Progress of Societies. This means that the group as “subject matter correspondent” invites researchers or people who are otherwise interested to exchange ideas and expertise on the specific topic. For that purpose and, as Ethics of Universal Progress Measurement is a very broad labeling, a few specifications might be helpful:
Ethics of Universal Progress Measurement: key components
Ethics of Universal Progress Measurement is not “only” about measurement – as such an undertaking always involves an understanding of what to measure. Indeed, many of the controversies in the context of measurement, often only implicitly, seem to consist in the question of the overall meaning and components of “progress”.
Thus, on the one hand the broad range of attempts to specify the notion of progress is held to be relevant for its measurement here. Obviously, this refers to a large number of potential relevant sub-contents. On the other hand, and helping to avoid overstretch, the focus on ethics of universal progress (measurement) narrows the potential sub-contents. Two approaches shall be distinguished here:
One approach consists in universal goals for which general acceptability is claimed by some (e.g. notions of justice, utilitarian happiness or capability expansion). This also includes the skeptical question whether such universal claims are at all reasonable.
Another approach refers to the description of overall (meta-)goals which seem to be accepted by specific actors (e.g. the OECD). Can it be substantiated that there are indeed such goals (implicitly or explicitly) accepted as universal? Is it possible to operationalize them accordingly? And, if this is the case, how do these goals correlate with strategies and actions of the actors who accept them, including the acceptance of measurement tools for comprehensive progress?
It should be clarified that the Research Group is not primarily concerned with “progress” but with “development”, as the reference to “development policy” in its title indicates. However, with regard to widely accepted meta-goals in both “concepts”, it seems that they are largely used synonymously – at least in today’s mainstream discourses (without denying clearly distinct historical roots of both terms). In fact, one could argue that “development” in mainstream discourse tends to refer to “progress” in materially poor countries, while “progress” describes “development” in the rich world. While the strategies to achieve development or progress are as different as are socio-economic and cultural settings, there are strong indications that the discourses in the end lead to the same questions about overall (meta-)goals.
For clarification it might be added that among the members of the Research Group themselves there is no single definition, neither of “development” nor of “progress”. Instead, individual theoretical standpoints and policy fields under investigation seem to be crucial for particular notions of the concepts.
Members of the Research Group
Prof Dr Stefan Kadelbach
Professor of Constitutional Law, European Union Law and Public International Law
M.A. (Sociology, “Diplom-Soziologin”)
LL.M. (Legal Studies)
M.A. (Sociology of Law)
Diplom (Legal Studies)
M.A. (Philosophy, Political Science, Italian Literature)
M.A. (Sociology, “Diplom-Soziologe”)
M.P.S. (Master of Peace and Security Studies)
M.A. (Political Science, “Diplom-Politologin”)
M.A. (Philosophy, German Literature)
MPP (Master of Public Policy)
M.A. (Social Anthropology)
M.A. (Social Anthropology, African History, Political Science)
First Judical State Examination (“Erstes Juristisches Staatsexamen”, J.D. equivalent)
M.A. (Political Science, “Diplom-Politologin”)
Workshops and Conferences
- Workshop Processes of Negotiation. Theory and Practice, held at Point Sud - Center for Research on Local Knowledge, Bamako/Mali, 5 – 12 December 2009
- Workshop Towards a New Global Partnership for Development. Current Cleavages and Challenges from a DAC`s Perspective, keynote by Mr. Jens Sedemund, Executive Advisor DAC Chair, held at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, Bad Homburg/Germany, 29 – 30 April 2010
- Conference Is Poverty All About Money? International Panelists Debate Normative Conceptions of Poverty, keynote speakers: Prof. Ilan Kapoor, Dr. Ana Agostino, Prof. Stefan Klasen, held at the Cluster of Excellence on the Formation of Normative Orders, Frankfurt a.M./Germany, 8 July 2010
- Franziska Dübgen (2010), Respect the Poor? Postkoloniale Perspektiven auf Armut. In: Perpherie, no. 120, pp. 452-477.
- Franziska Dübgen (2010), Aid Colonization 2.0. Die internationale Entwicklungszusammenarbeit im Spiegel ihrer afrikanischen KritikerInnen. In: Hinterland, no. 15, pp. 87-91.
- Stefan Kadelbach (2008), Entwicklungsvölkerrecht. In: Andreas Fischer-Lescano et al. (eds), Frieden in Freiheit - Peace in liberty - Paix en liberté. Festschrift für Michael Bothe zum 70. Geburtstag, Baden-Baden: Nomos / Zürich: Dike, pp. 625-636.