Workshop: “Decoloniality and the Politics of the Urban” (hybrid, 27 Oct 2022)

The Geneva Graduate Institute, the Reversing the Gaze Project and the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH) invite you to participate in an upcoming workshop, exploring themes of decoloniality in relation to the politics of the urban.

Date: 27th October 2022
Time: 9:00-16:30 UK time
Format: Hybrid

What is the politics of the divide between the urban and the non-urban (semi-urban, peri-urban and the rural), in contemporary postcolonial and metropolitan contexts, as well as historical colonial contexts? The divide is fundamental to the emergence of modern states as political-economic entities – European, colonial, and developmental. It expresses a politics of concentration/scale, productivity, specialisation, and movement to be governed. Crucially, colonial histories and categories of urban and rural and their relationship to productive and unproductive labour give shape to internal hierarchies of citizenship within states. The politics of these categories manifest themselves in historic rubrics of retribalisation, and contemporary politics of internal labour migration and populist resentment. The divide is of interest as at once a material site, political framework, and historical stage for the making of colonial and postcolonial states – and potentially for the continuation of an “unfinished project of decolonisation”.

This is a unique opportunity to engage with interdisciplinary scholarship on relevant themes of decoloniality, both historical and contemporary. If you’re interested in participating in a panel, kindly submit a short abstract (no more than 200 words) to and with the title ‘Decoloniality Workshop Submission’ and your name and affiliation by October 3th, 2022. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Tanushree at

Publication: “The Puzzle of Unspent Funds”

This special issue edited by our project members Deval Desai, Sruthi Herbert and Christine Lutringer explores a matter of critical policy relevance and political importance: the unuse or underuse of public funds, and more specifically of special purpose social funds. The contributions ask: why are there unspent social purpose funds, what do they tell us about the structures of the administrative state, and what can be done to remedy the situation?

The eight chapters, which include contributions by project members Tanushree Kaushal, Luciano Monti and Anna Rita Ceddia, span across two different contexts : India and Italy. These radically different contexts also present valuable points of comparison. The analyzed funds diverge in terms of their institutional design, type of benefits and eligibility of beneficiaries. At the same time, they sit within decentralized democratic frameworks and fragmented and multilevel governance. Juxtaposing the cases, the papers reveal key processes related to fiscal, administrative and policy practices that cause underspending. The papers provide an innovative vantage point to analyze institutional design and reforms in multilevel governance contexts; administrative and bureaucratic state practices; modalities of state-society engagement; and mechanisms to increase democratic accountability.

Desai, D., S. Herbert and C. Lutringer (eds) (2022) The Puzzle of Unspent Funds. Political and Policy Implications of Fiscal Underspending, International Development Policy / Revue internationale de politique de développement, 14.1 (Geneva: Graduate Institute Publications). DOI: 10.4000/poldev.5048

  • Deval Desai, Sruthi Herbert and Christine Lutringer: Introduction. Critical Issues Emerging from the Study of Unspent Funds
  • G. K. Karanth: Managing Unspent Funds when Money is Scarce: Karnataka State Construction and Other Workers Welfare Board (kcowwb)
  • Lipin Ram: Funds Spent: The Lessons and Challenges of Kerala’s Exceptional Experience
  • Tanushree Kaushal: The Aestheticisation of Governance in India: The Appeal of Urban Aesthetics in Microfinance
  • Himanshu Upadhyaya: Registration, Expenditure and Audit Trends: A Technical Commentary on the Karnataka Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Board
  • Christine Lutringer: The Puzzle of ‘Unspent’ Funds in Italy’s European Social Fund
  • Luciano Monti: The Italian Puzzle of the European Youth Guarantee
  • Anna Rita Ceddia: The Pivotal Role of Mid-level Implementation Bodies in Italy’s Cohesion Policy  

Call for Papers: “Post-Pandemic Mobilisation and Management of Social Welfare Funds”

Project members Sruthi Herbert and Deval Desai host a workshop on “Post-Pandemic Mobilisation and Management of Social Welfare Funds: Implications for Equity and Citizenship” at the annual conference of the Development Studies Association (6-8 July 2022). They discuss the fiscal and administrative practices that emerged in public welfare spending after the COVID-19 pandemic through the lens of equity and citizenship.

The workshop explores a matter of critical policy relevance and political importance: the fiscal and administrative practices that emerged post-pandemic to rapidly mobilise funds for the pandemic relief, and its implications for equity and citizenship. The case-study of special-purpose vehicles (SPVs) in India guides this discussion.

Sruthi Herbert and Deval Desai (Edinburgh) will be the co-convenors. They welcome abstracts for papers from scholars, writers and activists engaged in monitoring and analysing the management and use of public/earmarked funds in India or other regions of the world.

The deadline for submissions is 4 March 2022. The conference is taking place online on 6-8 July, organised and hosted by University College London.

“Decolonising Knowledge”: Interview with Shalini Randeria

The October 2021 edition of Global Challenges from the Graduate Institute of Geneva (IHEID) features Reversing the Gaze fellow, Shalini Randeria, in conversation with IHEID Director of Research and Professor of Anthropology and Sociology, Grégoire Mallard. The video interview “Decolonising Knowledge: A Historical Perspective from Socio-Anthropology” appears in the introduction of the recently published research webzine.

Global Challenges is a series of dossiers aimed to communicate the ideas, expertise, perspectives, and discussions generated by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies with a larger, non-specialist audience.

Shalini Randeria

Publication: ”Emergency Use of Public Funds: Implications for Democratic Governance”

In this paper, three of our project team: Shalini Randeria (Fellow), Deval Desai (Principal Investigator) and Christine Lutringer (Researcher) demonstrate a set of unintended political and institutional effects of the emergency mobilisation of unspent social welfare funds under Covid-19.

This article was originally written for Global Challenges:

> Desai, D., Lutringer, C., & Randeria, S. (2020) Emergency Use of Public Funds: Implications for Democratic Governance, Global Challenges, special issue no. 1, June.

Christine Lutringer

Shalini Randeria

Deval Desai