The Routledge Handbook of South-South Relations: Launch Event Podcast

On 20th May 2019 The Southern Responses to Displacement project launched the Routledge Handbook of South-South Relations at the UCL Institute of Advances Studies (IAS).  You can access the full podcast of the event here:

Alternatively you can access podcasts of each contributing author speaking about their own chapter below.

The Routledge Handbook of South-South Relations critically explores diverse ways of defining ‘the South’ and of conceptualising and engaging with ‘South-South relations.’ Through 30 state-of-the-art reviews of key academic and policy debates, the handbook evaluates past, present and future opportunities and challenges of South-South cooperation, and lays out research agendas for the next 5-10 years. In so doing, the handbook reflects on decolonial, postcolonial and anticolonial theories and methodologies, exploring urgent questions regarding the nature and implications of conducting research in and about the global South, and of applying a ‘Southern lens’ to a wide range of encounters, processes and dynamics across the global South and global North alike.

The Handbook editors, Prof. Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh (Southern Responses to Displacement PI) and Prof. Patricia Daley (Oxford) introduced the event and provided reflections into the rationale and motivation for developing the Handbook. The editors noted that the Handbook aims to disrupt current debates and narratives about the South, and to explore different ways of ‘studying, knowing and responding to the diversity that exists in the global ‘South’’.

Amber Murrey, spoke of her chapter ‘When spider webs unite they can tie up a lion’: anti-racism, decolonial options and theories from the South’ emerging from an interest

“in the ways that dominant academic institutions and elites have written and continue to write about marginalized knowledges, colonized knowledges, subjected and subjugated knowledges, while seeming more properly involved in capturing and containing those ways of being and knowing.”

Her chapter focuses on ‘two discrete but interrelated intellectual projects: Southern theory and decolonial options’ and she argues that an awareness around the need to create a more central focus on Southern theory is not the same as asserting the need for and acting on the decolonization of knowledge. In her chapter, Murrey argues that, although there is some

“critical and celebrated scholarship critiquing the (ongoing) hegemony of Eurocentric theory and knowing – broadly, theories from the South – has failed to systematically engage with the racialisation of actors within the university and racial inequality in knowledge making.”

Listen to Amber Murrey here:

Thomas Muhr, author of the chapter ‘Geographies of South-South Relations and Regionalisation Processes in Latin America-Caribbean’ noted how his chapter is “grounded in an interest in, and struggle for, social justice”, and went on to present how his chapter disaggregates some of the complexities of the geographies of regionalisation and South–South cooperation (SSC) in Latin America-Caribbean. In his chapter, Muhr puts forward 3 ‘generations’ of regionalist projects, in Latin America and the Greater Caribbean, noting the importance of the term ‘generations’ vis-à-vis the ability of regionalist approaches and projects to co-exist. The first ‘generation’ of regionalism identified was the drive for independence, specifically from global capitalism, the second, ‘open regionalism’ identified as a neo-liberalist framework advanced in response to 1st generation regionalism, and thirdly, the focus of Muhr’s Phd research, ‘counter hegemonic, decolonialist and counter dependency regionalism.’

Listen to Thomas Muhr here:

Mario Luiz Neves briefly introduced his contributing chapter, co-authored with Thomas Muhr, ‘South-South Education Relations’ which aims to close a research gap relating to South-South education relations. Their chapter adopts an ‘historical and global approach’ and examines concepts of ‘the South’ and ‘South-South cooperation’ in comparison to ‘triangular collaboration’ and ‘best practice transfer’ in addition to presenting a critical literature review of South-South education relations. The chapter examines two case studies within these frameworks. The ¡Yo, Sí Puedo! (Sure, I Can!) global literacy campaign promoted by the governments of the Republic of Cuba and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela; and the education cooperation agenda of the so-called BRICS.

Listen to Mario here:

Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, PI of our Southern Responses to Displacement project discussed her chapter, ‘Southern-led responses to displacement: modes of South-South cooperation?’, which explores ‘how, why and with what effect’ the history of Southern-led responses to forced displacement has been ‘marginalised’ and ‘deligitimised’ by analysts, policy-makers and practitioners, leading to Southern-led responses not being conceptualized as humanitarian. Drawing on her research in and through the vantage point of the Middle East and North Africa, Fiddian-Qasmiyeh noted the many and various forms of ‘state’ and ‘locally’ led responses to displacement and the extent to which these responses have ‘often resisted, rejected and developed alternatives to the hegemonic aid regime’. Fiddian-Qasmiyeh then noted how these responses are nonetheless at times actively mobilized by the ‘international humanitarian community,’ through processes of instrumentalisation that reproduce rather than challenge unequal power relations.

Listen to Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh here:

Estella Carpi, Southern Responses to Displacement Research Associate, also presented her chapter ‘The ‘need to be there’ North–South encounters and imaginations in the humanitarian economy’ which explores North–South encounters and mutual imaginations within ‘humanitarian economies’. Carpi’s chapter is based on her research in northern Lebanon and Beirut. This research examines the tension that exits between the philanthropic spirit of the humanitarian system as it is implemented in the ‘global South’ and local and refugee responses to ‘Southism’, described by Carpi as both a concept and a mode of analysis, that

“indicates a structural relationship between different sets of providers and beneficiaries, rather than a mere act of assisting the South with a philanthropic spirit. Specifically, Southism, as a mode of analysis, is underpinned by a preconception of the South as disempowered and incapable, while cementing the ‘global South’ as the key symbolic capital of Northern empowerment, accountability and capability.”

Listen to Estella Carpi here:

Patricia Daley, co-editor of the Handbook, presented her chapter, ‘Toward South–South peace-building’ which examines arguments for South-South peace-making and peace-building. Emerging from her interest in both the promotion and critiques of liberal and/or neo liberal peace building in the global South, which is often structured around the security interests of global North states, Daley argued that peace needs to be examined both culturally, geographically and historically in order to understand the different ways in which peace manifests itself.

In her chapter, Daley uses Africa as a case study, and examines how African states have ‘attempted to resolve conflicts regionally’ and explores ‘lessons from the African experience of peace-making that have been universalised.’ Daley examines how the peace that Southern critics wanted differed from that promoted by hegemonic powers in the global North, and explores what constraints were in place that prevented people in the global South from leading peace processes in their own regions. The analysis also examines what potential there is for the emergence of a Southern concept of peace within or outside of liberal international institutions.

Listen to Patricia Daley here.

The event ended with Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, co-editor and contributing author of the Handbook, noting that the Handbook offers different ways to not just critique existing forms of knowledge and the politics of knowledge production, but also presents different ways of thinking about, imagining, being in and responding to the world. Moreover, the Handbook offers ways to examine what can be achieved through bringing into conversation diversity, multi-vocality, and multi-perspectival frames of reference, arguing that these conversations need to be mutli-scalar and critical in their processes.


For more information on the Handbook, visit the Handbook’s Table of Contents, access PDF versions of all 31 chapters here, or, to read extracts from the book, please visit the posts below:

Carpi, E. (2018) Thinking Power Relations across Humanitarian Geographies: Southism as a Mode of Analysis

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. and Daley, P. (2018) Conceptualising the global South and South–South encounters

Ould Mohamedou, M. (2019) The Rise and Fall of Pan-Arabism

Omata, N. (2019)  South-South Cooperation in International Organizations: Its Conceptualization and Implementation within UNDP and UNHCR

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