Organizing Institutions

Workshop Sessions and Abstracts

Download full list of workshops with intro texts as PDF

Workshop schedule

Please click on each session to view accepted abstracts.


Title: Vulnerable Communities
Coordinator: Professor Gunnar Heiene, MF Norwegian School of Theology

Many societies and communities in the South are faced with multiple crises in the form of armed conflicts and violence, HIV/AIDS, climate change and financial crises. This creates situations of fragility and vulnerability with weak and fragile state and community institutions. Ability to meet the crises on community level is often overlooked and poorly researched and not used in informing national and international policies and strategies for interventions. The workshop on Vulnerable Communities will focus on different aspects of this situation.

Title: The Role of Islamic Charitable Work
Coordinator: PhD candidate Hilde Granås Kjøstvedt, Chr. Michelsen Institute and University of Bergen/Dept. of Social Anthropology

This workshop will focus on the role of Islamic charitable work and its role in alleviating economic and social crises brought about by war and conflict. Both Lars Gunnar and I work on the Israeli occupied Palestinian West Bank, but we would naturally like others who have done or are doing their research on Islamic charity elsewhere to contribute as well.

Lars Gunnar Lundblad (PhD candidate at the University of Bergen/Dept. of Sociology)is soon to finish his PhD on the zakat committees, while I am doing fieldwork on the West Bank right now, focusing on women run charities that mainly reach out to other women. Organisations like these have "always" existed in the Islamic world, but in the Palestinian setting especially their work has been influenced by the occupation and the politicisation of Islam through religious political parties like Hamas. Many accuse Islamic charities for being the extended arm of terrorism, supplying funds that help sustain militant Islamism. In recent years in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Islamic charitable associations have been caught up in the intra-Palestinian fight between Fatah/the Palestinian Authorities and Hamas, now ruling the Gaza Strip. But nevertheless, the work these organisations do reaches out to numerous people who depend on them for various reasons - food support, direct financial support, medical care, education, to name but a few.

Title:  Confronting the Healthcare Worker Crisis
Coordinator: Associate Professor Dr. Bodil Tveit, Diakonhjemmet University College

This workshop has a relatively wide focus and invites papers related to the shortages of professionals in the global health care area as well as strategies to deal with it. It includes themes related to the causes and consequences of “brain drain” of health care workers.

Closely linked to the challenge of lack of nurses, doctors and other core professionals are questions related to capacity building and quality strengthening in education of health care professionals. The workshop therefore invites papers addressing development of professional education of health care workers, focusing on regions that are particularly vulnerable to the global health care worker crisis.

Title: Measuring Social Vulnerability to Environmental Hazards
Coordinator: Researcher Tewodros A. Kebede, Fafo Institute for Applied International Studies

Fafo has an ongoing research program looking into Vulnerability to environmental hazards. A short summary on intended putpose of the workshop is outlined below. I hope you will consider our application and lookforward to organize and engage researchers on this topic for a scholarly exchanges in this timely topic.

Developing measurement tools for vulnerability assessments across disciplines is challenging given the ever-present definitional ambiguity of vulnerability along with the dynamic nature and changing scale of analysis. Research continues on the development of quantitative indicators of climate variability and adaptation to climate-related hazards both at macro and micro levels. One of the confounding issues is how to incorporate hazard or disaster vulnerability indicators into climate change vulnerability assessments. While there is considerable research and policy interest in the development of vulnerability indicators and indices, especially in the arena of climate change, general agreement on measuring vulnerability (data, variables, and index construction) remains elusive. This panel is open to papers that address methodological issues on the measurement of social vulnerability to environmental hazards and expects to discuss the conceptualization and measurement of social vulnerability. Especial emphasis will be given to those papers that directly address the measurement of vulnerability to climate change or to papers whose analysis have important implications for the measurement of social vulnerability to climate change.

Title: Crisis Management and Peace Operations
Coordinator: Head of research Morten Bøås, Fafo

For decades, the international community has been involved in various attempts at crisis management and peacekeeping operations. Some cases (such as Liberia and Sierra Leone) are described as success stories; in other cases, the positive effects on the ground are not easily observed (e.g. Darfur, DR Congo, and Somalia); and other cases have been presented as both successes and (partial) failures (East Timor). Crisis management and the implementation of peacekeeping operations in complex emergencies and in sites of almost permanent conflict zones are inherently difficult itself, but many of these operations are also built on flawed and misguided understandings of the conflicts and their historical trajectories. This panel seeks contributions that critically analyzes such operations and emphasizes the complex relationships of co-optation and collaboration that takes places during such operations. Paper proposals from different theoretical and disciplinary backgrounds are most welcome.

Title:  Development, Religion and Ethics
Coordinator: Associate Professor Dr. Kjetil Fretheim, MF Norwegian School of Theology

One of the recent gains in development studies is the rediscovery of the links and tensions between religion and development. Religion can both contribute to and be an obstacle to development, but similarly: societal changes impact on religious thinking and praxis. In addition, religion plays an important role in how development is assessed and ethically evaluated. However, there is a need to understand closer the relationship between development, religion and ethics, and the exchange and negotiations taking place in real life social contexts. This workshop invites papers that critically address these and related issues, be it theoretically or empirically. Historical and contemporary studies are welcome, as are papers from different disciplines or of a more multi-disciplinary nature.

Title: The Right to Food and the Right to Water
Coordinator: Associate Professor Dr. Hans Morten Haugen, Diakonhjemmet University College, member of International project on the right to food in development, (IPRFD)

While the right to adequate food has for long been recognized as a human right, the same cannot be said regarding the right to water – despite water being included in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Article 24.2(c) in order to “combat disease and malnutrition”; in the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination of Women (CEDAW), Article 14.2(h) in the context of “adequate living conditions”; and in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRDP), Article 28.2(a), relating to “social protection”.

In a resolution adopted by the General Assembly in June 2010 – with no votes against, but many abstentions – paragraph 1 “Declares the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights. "One of the abstaining States, The United States of America, stated in a explanation of their vote that “…the legal implications of a declared right to water have not yet been carefully and fully considered in this body or in Geneva."

The workshop will contribute to give greater clarity of both the right to water and the right to food. Both country experiences and global initiatives for giving better insight into how these rights are understood, promoted and realized. In a conference addressing issues such as Climate change, fragile states and resource scarcity, there seems to be no better venue to address these issues.

Title: Rethinking the Climate Crisis: From Social Vulnerability to Social Transformation
Coordinator: Senior Researcher Trond Vedeld, Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research (NIBR)

Adapting to climate change is one of the most challenging and complex problems facing humanity. Land for agriculture may be destroyed by floods and drought, water and food may become more scarce, and some species and ecosystems will be negatively impacted. Poverty is likely to increase and social inequality may become more pronounced. Social and political crises can multiply in unpredictable ways, as climate change interacts with political and economic forces to reinforce human vulnerabilities and human insecurity. Living with climate change involves reconsidering our values, lifestyles and goals for the future, which are linked to our acts as individuals, communities, and governments across the globe. Climate change stands out as among the most transformative processes of our time. Al Gore suggested in 2006 that the climate crisis is an ‘inconvenient’ crisis; one that means we are going to have to change the way we live our lives. Civil society is increasingly calling for 'system change – not climate change,' including the promotion of a "sustainable transition of our societies".

Climate change has mostly been framed by the natural sciences. Yet it is not simply a natural phenomena, or an environmental problem that can be managed in isolation from larger development concerns. Rather, climate change raises a set of human security issues related to human perceptions, behaviour, rights and responsibilities, human capacity for response, and ethical and moral obligations towards the poor and vulnerable and to future generations. A stronger social science voice is now required to effectively respond to the complexities of these global issues and their potentially severe social consequences. If social scientists are to play a key role in meeting these complex challenges, they need to play a much larger and more visible role, working across disciplinary and organisational boundaries, across issues and methodologies, and across national and regional borders.

This panel invites papers that shed new light on the climate crisis, including how we as researchers conceptualize climate change, and its social and political impacts and implications for adaptation and mitigation. What is the character of the climate crisis? How are different perspectives on the crisis framed by social and natural sciences? How do we relate to the emerging paradigm shift from a focus on climate change impacts and social vulnerability to a focus on the enabling conditions for positive social transformation? What are some of the barriers towards social transformation and human security at different levels? How do we build a coordinated capacity to think about the future in a different manner? The panel hopes to present novel conceptual frameworks for exploring processes and relationships that define the climate crisis, including the concept of human security, while revealing opportunities for generating positive responses and coordinated actiosn towards a more equitable, resilient and sustainable future.

Title: Governing an Epidemic: HIV/AIDS and scales of governance
Coordinator: Senior Researcher Berit Aasen, Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research (NIBR)

The HIV/AIDS epidemic has acted as a catalyst for rethinking ‘appropriate’ governance responses to health and development crises. New initiatives, such as the public-private partnership models of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and UNITAID, regional, national and local level coordinating institutions and committees, reflect a bewildering array of modes of governance. In a somewhat confusing landscape of governance interventions and responses this workshop explores the following:

What are the predominant patterns of governance at play? Do these modes of governance serve public health coverage and access, development needs and political responses? Do interventions differ according to what scale – whether global, regional, national, and/or local level- is prioritised? What is the role of national and local governments in these HIV/AIDS specific governing responses? And how do global bilateral and multilateral programmes, such as the World Bank MAP, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, influence the governing institutions at the national and local level? Are these governance interventions enabling or disabling sufficient forms of social mobilisation?

In this workshop, we welcome contributions from across all disciplines that focus on HIV/AIDS and governance at global, national, or local levels and especially contributions that combine these levels in analysis. Although the thematic is most relevant for Sub-Saharan Africa, we are also positive to contributions from other parts of the world.