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trAndeS Spring School 2018

For doctoral students and postdoctoral investigators


Social Inequalities and Sustainable Development: Local – National – Global Tensions in Andean Territories


October 29 - November 02, 2018

Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP), Lima, Perú


The Spring School of trAndeS aims to bring together young researchers working in the Andean region and whose work, from different disciplines and thematic areas, can contribute to one of the central objectives of trAndeS: the study of the relationship between social inequalities and opportunities for sustainable development in the region.

The spring school of trAndeS seeks to establish an ideal venue for the development of selected research projects. To do this, participants can present and discuss their work, as well as receive comments and advice from Latin American and European researchers who are experts in the issues raised in such research.

In addition, the participating researchers will have the opportunity to extend their academic networks. In particular, the link with the trAndeS network will be promoted, with the coordination of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and Freie Universität Berlin bringing together scholars from European and Latin American universities who are experts in the issues of inequality and sustainable development.

Finally, the spring school aims to contextualize the research presented in the political dynamics of the region. To do this, we will seek to incorporate the discussion on socio-political factors that promote or hinder the generation of forms of sustainable development in the region.



Global theme and thematic areas

The global theme of the trAndeS spring school is the connection between social inequalities and sustainable development. We define social inequality as “the distance between the positions of individuals and groups in the hierarchy of access to socially relevant goods (income, wealth, etc.) and power resources (rights, political participation, political positions) " (Costa et al. 2017)[1] and sustainable development as the result of a political strategy that balances economic, social and ecological aspects so that no one dimension negatively affects the other to achieve well-being and expand the freedoms of people.

In particular, it will focus on the works that explain the relationship and tensions between local, regional, national and / or global levels. These relationships can facilitate collaboration or generate friction among social actors that problematize the generation of forms of sustainable development in the context of recurrent asymmetries of power, information or access to resources

Contributions are welcomed from different disciplinary approaches as long as they address the central issue of the spring school raised in four specific areas:

a) Local knowledge in the management of natural resources;

b) Institutionalization and subnational government;

c) Cultural heritage, tourism and sustainable habitats;

d) Agribusiness and sustainable local development



a) Local knowledge in the management of natural resources

There is a broad literature that shows that local knowledge can be key to achieve sustainable management of natural resources in a territory (water, land, etc.). For this reason, public and private initiatives for the recovery, rescue and management of local knowledges have been developed in recent decades.

We understand local knowledges as forms of knowledge generated in local spaces. They may or may not have an ancestral origin. This knowledge is produced within the framework of asymmetric relationships that can hinder the activation of local knowledges that could enable a more sustainable management of natural resources. Power asymmetries are often expressed through the imposition of external knowledge on local knowledges regarding the management of natural resources. In many cases this knowledge is considered expert or scientific having been produced in academic fields, by national governments or international organizations.

In the flow of knowledge there may be convergences, divergences and fruitful reworking of knowledge, but also impositions. These impositions could constitute obstacles to the generation of collaborative knowledge management spaces that lead to the best use of local knowledge to promote sustainable development. For example: a) the historical imposition of one knowledge on another can lead to the loss of local knowledge; b) the legitimization of external knowledge can also lead to the loss of local knowledge; c) impositions can generate social conflicts; d) local knowledge may lose validity. In any of these cases, opportunities for sustainable development could be reduced.

Are there asymmetries or social inequalities that prevent a better interrelation between local knowledge and scientific knowledge in the context of sustainable development? What role can local knowledge have in generating more sustainable forms of development? It is expected that the papers presented respond to these general or other questions that the author considers pertinent to the topics raised.



b) Institutionalization and subnational governments

In the last decades, numerous governments of the Andean countries have promoted processes of institutionalization and the decentralization of government functions. As a result of these processes, subnational governments have acquired a more leading role in the generation of sustainable development at the local level. On the other hand, a set of rules and procedures have been generated to regulate the relationship between government scales with the nominal aim of promoting adequate institutional frameworks for the promotion of sustainable forms of development.


However, the evidence shows that these initiatives have not often produced the expected results due to the asymmetries that persist both between levels of government and within subnational entities. For example, because of insufficient allocations of funds from the central State, subnational governments have not had the financial means to carry out the functions assigned in an adequate manner. On the other hand, the lack of technical capacity prevented the fulfillment of its role in terms of local sustainable development. In addition, in some cases the rules and procedures implemented have not been reduced, and in some cases they have promoted institutional practices associated with clientelism and corruption.


This axis focuses, among others, on the following questions: How do the government or national institutions affect local development opportunities in terms of institutional development? What political inequalities are perpetuated or generated in the relationship between levels of government? What role and impact do non-state actors (NGOs, international cooperation, companies) fulfill and generate in public management and local institutions? How do local inequalities affect local public management?


c) Tourism and cultural heritage

The conservation of cultural heritage is essential and tourism has been one of the main vehicles for its promotion. Tourism is an economic activity massively promoted by both national states and local governments that generates significant income in the Andean region. In particular, tourism to archaeological, historical and natural sites (for example, Peru has 15% of its territory under protected natural areas), considered as national heritage has been developed by several Andean countries in recent decades. The development of tourism is associated with two interrelated processes: a) the transformation of urban and rural social spaces for their better adaptation to tourism, including processes of conversion of tangible and intangible goods into heritage and b) the generation of interdependent social networks linked to the management of heritage (see for example the list and rules of UNESCO) and the development of tourism (hotels, agency, etc.). Mismanaged tourism generates problems and social conflicts linked to the lack of labor rights and human rights.


This axis analyzes tourism and the constitution of heritage in its relationship with social inequalities and the reconfiguration of spaces -with special attention to cities. The questions that will be discussed will be: To what extent does tourism development and / or the creation of heritage generate or reproduce social inequalities (cultural, economic, political)? How do these inequalities affect the possibility of forming healthy habitats and a sustainable tourism activity? How are these inequalities linked to modes of production of new habitats and spaces? How are these networks related and to what extent can they respond to social inequalities? It is expected that the papers presented respond to these general or other questions that the author considers pertinent to the topics raised.


d)  Agribusiness and sustainable development

The governments of the Andean region have been promoting large-scale agriculture oriented to the global market of traditionally export crops such as cotton, new crops for export such as asparagus or soybeans and traditional Andean crops that have achieved a niche in the international market, like quinoa. The development of the agricultural export industry has brought with it profound social transformations such as changes in the agrarian structure, ownership of land and land use that have generated a set of positive and negative social and environmental impacts in the region. On the one hand, the agricultural export industry has generated higher jobs, technological innovation processes and significant tax revenues for the Andean states. On the other hand, this activity has resulted in soil degradation, processes of water and land dispossession, as well as the physical and / or economic displacement of peasant populations, all of which are dynamics that modify rural societies. To what extent this leads to new social inequalities will be one of the questions linked to this discussion.

How is the development of export-oriented agribusiness related to the perpetuation, generation or reduction of existing social inequalities in the region? Under what conditions would agroexport be sustainable? It is expected that the papers presented respond to these general or other questions that the author considers pertinent to the topic raised.


Event format

  • Keynote speeches from international experts
  • Presentation of participant projects
  • Presentation of posters
  • Discussion of the research essays that will be distributed by the participants before the event
  • Multidisciplinary readings (basic bibliography will be distributed before the event)
  • Field visit to institutions or places relevant to the general theme of the Spring School (location to be determined)



Participants should speak Spanish and English at an advanced level


  • Strong interest and experience in research on social inequalities and sustainable development in the Andean region
  • Academic degree in social or environmental sciences (MA, MSc or equivalent)


  • The trAndeS spring school covers academic costs, food and lodging. However, participants are encouraged to seek support from their institutions to cover travel costs. In case of exhausting all your options, the organizers will consider the partial or total financing of the travel expenses of the participants.
  • All accepted applicants must provide proof of health insurance for the duration of the Spring School. The organizers cannot assume costs for health or medical care.

Application and selection process

The following documents must be sent no later than April 15, 2018 to contacto@programa-trandes.net (incomplete or late applications will not be accepted):

  • The completed application form
  • CV
  • An essay (maximum 1500 words) that shows that the candidate's research project is linked to one of the themes of the Spring School
  • A letter of recommendation from an advisor or professor
  • Ph.D. students: certificate of enrollment in a doctoral program
  • Postdoctoral researchers: certificate of PhD or doctorate


The results of the selection process will be communicated on May 20, 2018

Once accepted, the participants must submit an essay on their topic of max. 4000 words The deadline for this delivery will be July 15, 2018. These essays will be reviewed by specialized researchers, who will send their comments to each author. These will have to be corrected by the month of September at the latest (the exact date will be determined later).

For more information: Please contact contacto@programa-trandes.net

[1] Costa, Sérgio, Jelin, Elizabeth and Motta, Renata (eds.): Global Entangled Inequalities: Conceptual Debates and Evidence from Latin America. Abingdon: Routledge.