Research within the area of the political economy of development at the Centre has focused, in particular, upon a critical engagement with the global value chain approach in order to bring together analysis of global production and trade with development theory and practice. There is a strong empirical component of this research with, for example, Ben Selwyn’s study of export grape production in North East Brazil and Zoe Pflaeger’s analysis of empowerment within Kenya’s coffee industry. In continuing to explore the potential for farmer empowerment within the coffee industry, the Centre will be working with the recently established Black Gold Foundation, which aims to raise awareness about inequities in the global coffee trade and discuss ideas to improve the situation of coffee producers:
This work forms part of a broader empirical and theoretical interest among the Centre’s members in issues of agrarian change and the political economy of agriculture. This includes Ben Selwyn’s interests in labour and class relations in the agricultural economy and Peter Newell’s previous work on biotechnology regulation and policy.
The role of business in development is another theme which brings together associates of the Centre such as Dinah Rajak in the Anthropology department who has worked on issues of Corporate Social Responsibility while Peter Newell has critically engaged with questions of corporate accountability and business regulation in relation to the social and environmental impacts of investment practices.
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