18-20 July 2020
University of Amsterdam – Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Join Us

2020 – Amsterdam

Development Today: Accumulation, Surveillance, Redistribution

Conference Theme Overview

New political, technological, and economic forces are changing the ways development is designed, practiced, and experienced today, in poor and rich countries alike. Three interrelated elements, in particular, deserve our analytical attention: a geopolitically and economically unsettled global order, smart information and communication technologies, and extreme inter- and intra-country inequities. By transforming practices of accumulation, surveillance, and redistribution, these factors shape the experience of development in significant ways.

An unsettled global order—triggered in part by a threatened US hegemony and China’s rising power—defines the diplomatic initiatives and economic investments in poor countries. Some foreign investments are driven by private capital, others are state-led. Some initiatives are for profit, others are designated as development aid. New ambitious projects include the UN-led Sustainable Development Goals and China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Other projects are driven and funded by local actors. On the ground, the effects on development are potentially dramatic—investments in basic health and education must have major redistributive effects; infrastructural projects are likely to transform social and economic practices in and across cities; the environment is necessarily affected—but we are yet to fully understand the origins and potential impact of such programs.

One competition informing global and local restlessness today is over technology. A smart global order is currently being created—an order in which information and communication technologies dominate public arenas and private lives. Much of the debates on new technologies have been concerned with the global North, yet in so many ways the impact on the global South may be even more significant. In the global South, new technologies are being effectively used to overcome extant infrastructural barriers to improve people’s lives. India famously uses biometric ID systems to distribute social benefits, for example, and other governments are currently collecting biometric data allegedly for similar purposes. New technologies are also used to monitor and control people. Governments exploit mass surveillance and smartphone technologies to compromise opposition figures; facial-recognition technology is used to scan for the presence of dissidents. The poor, refugees, and people trapped in the criminal justice system are particularly vulnerable. In the meantime, social media influence operations attempt to sway elections. In turn, technologies can be used by civil society actors to hold states more accountable. Local dynamics informing the development and use of technologies—and the impact of technologies on the future of work, the future of welfare, and the future of democracy—are essential to analyze.

Finally, the current global order is unapologetically unequal. Foreign interventions may strengthen current elites or empower rival fractions; mass automation is likely to bifurcate the global division of labor, but in unexpected ways; our submission to the gaze of corporations and governments make all of us vulnerable—but not equally so. And especially where social and political institutions are weak, the impact of current geopolitical dynamics and techno-political transformations is likely to both reproduce old dividing lines across classes, genders, and ethnic groups, and to add new divisions. Yet, we should also identify ways by which these geopolitical dynamics and techno-political transformations are used in the fight against injustices. 

The SASE conference in Amsterdam, Netherlands, hosted by the University of Amsterdam on 18-20 July 2020, will feature papers on all issues of concern for socio-economics, but we especially welcome contributions that explore development today and how geopolitical interventions, technological forces, and inequalities shape and are in turn shaped by development, today as in the past, from a variety of disciplinary and methodological perspectives. SASE’s current members are uniquely positioned to tackle these new realities and offer valuable insights; we hope that this year’s theme would, in addition, bring first-time participants, novel approaches, and new inquiries to add to our conversations.

Established in 1989, SASE owes its remarkable success to the determination to provide a platform for creative research addressing important social problems. Throughout its three decades, SASE has encouraged and hosted rigorous work of any methodological or theoretical bent from around the world based on the principle that innovative research emerges from paying attention to wider context and connecting knowledge developed in different fields. SASE is committed to a diverse membership and lively intellectual debates and encourages panels that include or are likely to include a diverse group of participants.

President: Nitsan Chorev (nitsan_chorev@brown.edu)

Program Committee: Rina Agarwala, Diego Sánchez-Ancochea, Daniel Mügge

Local Organizing Committee: Daniel Mügge, Jonathan Zeitlin

Mini-Conference Themes

Each mini-conference will consist of 3 to 6 panels, which will be featured as a separate stream in the program. Each panel will have a discussant, meaning that selected participants must submit a completed paper in advance, by 2 June 2020. Submissions for panels will be open to all scholars on the basis of an extended abstract. If a paper proposal cannot be accommodated within a mini-conference, organizers will forward it to the most appropriate research network as a regular submission.

Contested Law – Contested Social Orders? Technological and Transnational Challenges to the Rule and to the Making of Law
detailed info
Birgit Apitzsch
Britta Rehder
Katharina van Elten
Berthold Vogel
Crisis, Temporality, and Governance
detailed info
André Vereta-Nahoum
Simone Polillo
Critical Reflections on Socio-Economic Statistics for Development: Past, Present, and Future
detailed info
Roberto Aragão
Daniel DeRock
Joan van Heijster
Daniel Mügge
Decolonizing “Development”: Theories, Methods and Research
detailed info
Julian Go
Zophia Edwards
Diffusion of the Innovations on the New Algorithmic Contour
detailed info
Gil-Sung Park
Hang Young Lee
Eun Kyong Shin
Education Policies and Practices for Social Progress in Globalizing Worlds: Are New Socio-Economic Perspectives Needed?
detailed info
Lorenz Lassnigg
Aaron Benavot
Stephanie Matseleng Allais
Justin J.W. Powell
Gender and Wealth Accumulation
detailed info
Céline Bessière
Maude Pugliese
Global Populism and Business Elites
detailed info
Magnus Feldmann
Marcus Gomes
Daniel Kinderman
Glenn Morgan
Dorottya Sallai
Green Economy Contradictions
detailed info
Stéphanie Barral
Patrick Bigger
Ritwick Ghosh
Mind the Wealth Gap? Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Accumulation, Justification and (Re)Distribution of Wealth
detailed info
Hanna Lierse
Patrick Sachweh
Nora Waitkus
Possible Worlds: Practice, Ethics, Hope and Distress
detailed info
Felipe González López
Gary Herrigel Gary Herrigel
Adriana Mica
Ann Mische
Regulation, Innovation, and Valuation in Markets for Health and Medicines
detailed info
Kathryn Ibata-Arens
Etienne Nouguez
State Capitalism and State-led Development in the 21st Century: China and Beyond
detailed info
Ilias Alami
Milan Babic
Adam Dixon
Nana de Graaff
The Political Economy of Financial Subordination
detailed info
Ilias Alami
Bruno Bonizzi
Annina Kaltenbrunner
Kai Koddenbrock
Ingrid Harvold Kvangraven
Jeff Powell
The Welfare State in Financial Times
detailed info
Jeanne Lazarus
Daniel Mertens
Natascha van der Zwan


Find out more about the exceptional scholars giving featured talks at our 32nd annual conference in Amsterdam.

Check out the latest books by this year’s Featured Speakers!

Ruha Benjamin
Read more
Jayati Ghosh
Read more
Xiao Qiang
Read more
Guy Standing
Read more
Stephanie Barrientos
Read more

Author Meets Critics

A great selection of ‘Author meets Critics’ sessions are being organized for SASE/Amsterdam 2020, see the growing list of books and discussants below.


American Bonds: How Credit Markets Shaped a Nation – Sarah L. Quinn

Princeton University Press, 2019


Imperialism and the Developing World: How Britain and the United States Shaped the Global Periphery – Atul Kohli

Oxford University Press, 2020


Women and Gender Forum

Established in November 2017 by a group of female social science scholars, the Women and Gender Forum (WAG) is an interest group of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE).

WAG has three objectives: 1. to improve senior representation of women in academia, 2. to provide a networking space for female scholars, and 3. to stimulate discussions about important issues, such as “challenges of publishing,” “work-life balance,” “leadership roles,” or “career progression.”

The 2018 Kyoto kick-off event of the Women and Gender Forum was very successful. We had over 80 participants discussing issues related to publishing, career progression and work-life balance, followed by a networking lunch.

As a result of the WAG Forum’s activities, in 2018 SASE has set up a ‘Diversity Committee’ within the Executive Council to monitor and support diversity within the organisation and supported our initiative to allocate a special keynote speaker for the WAG Forum at the Annual conferences. 

Every year we come together at the SASE Annual conference in a dedicated session to discuss research, share information, network with each other and welcome our junior colleagues.

This year’s event will take place during the lunch break and the following time slot on the schedule on Saturday, July 18th at a location TBC. As we will have a networking lunch, please sign up for the SASE lunch option when you register for the conference.

In the 2020 Annual Meeting in Amsterdam we have organized:

  • A peer-to-peer discussion session, organized as themed round-tables,
  • A networking session,
  • Informal self-funded evening drinks (date and time TBC), and
  • A keynote lecture from Prof. Stephanie Barrientos.
  • Membership is open to all female SASE members and those who identify as women in a way that is significant to them.

If you would like to become a member, please fill out the form on this page.

If you would like to get in touch, please e-mail: D.Sallai@lse.ac.uk

WAG Committee

Founding Chair – Dorottya Sallai

Committee members –Sarah AshwinChiara BenassiVirginia L DoellgastJacqueline O’Reilly, and Caroline Ruiner.


The conference will take place at the University of Amsterdam – Roeterseiland Campus.

Suggested accommodationplease note that it is important to book early as hotels in Amsterdam tend to fill up quickly, especially in the summer.

The options below are within walking distance of the UvA campus:

     Hotel Hortus – Plantageparklaan 8

     Hotel Max Amsterdam – Hemonystraat 7

     Hyatt Regency – Sarphatistraat 104

     Hotel Allure – Sarphatistraat 117

     Generator Hostel – Mauritskade 57

     Hotel Arena – ‘s-Gravesandestraat 55

     Hotel Rembrandt – Plantage Middenlaan 17

     Amsterdam Tropen Hotel – Linnaeusstraat 2C

     The Bridge Hotel – Amstel 107

The options below are located near a subway stop and are a few stops away from the UvA campus:

     Hostelle – Bijlmerplein 395 (Woman-only hostel – no private rooms)

     Via Amsterdam – Diemerhof 20

     EasyHotel Amsterdam Arena Boulevard – Arena Boulevard 129

     A&O Amsterdam Zuidoost – Hogehilweg 22

     Joy Hotel Amsterdam – Hullenbergweg 385