Vision and Mission

Welcome to the Cambridge Society for Social and Economic Development.

The Cambridge Society for Social and Economic Development (CAMSED) seeks to “promote and constitute a space for the academic discussion of research and policies related to social and economic development, from a multidisciplinary perspective”. To this end, the Society provides a forum for students and academics at the University of Cambridge and beyond for critical evaluation and dissemination of research and ideas in this field. It organises regular seminars and conferences related to the field of Development Studies, and seeks to collaborate with similarly-motivated societies and individuals around the world. It also plans cultural and social events as a means to create healthy interaction among its members and provide space for free exchange of ideas.

In the current global context, poverty, inequality, stagnant economic growth, lack of personal freedoms and under-provision of healthcare and education are some of the most important and enduring challenges for Development.  CAMSED is convinced, that owing to their diverse and holistic nature, solutions to these problems cannot be sought from any one particular academic field. The Society, therefore, combines insights from a broad range of disciplines, and the research of its members includes topics ranging from trade, finance, industrial policy, agricultural development and resource management, to social mobility, poverty, education and institutional change.

Cambridge has a rich history in Development Studies and a multi-disciplinary approach to the subject. The founders of the field, Sir Hans Singer and Dudley Seers were educated at this University. In their tradition, several prominent thinkers have contributed further to the understanding of economic, social and political developments across the globe. These contributions have come from a range of disciplines such as economics, history, philosophy, sociology and law with distinguished Cambridge academics such as Alfred Marshall, John Maynard Keynes, Joan Robinson, Nicholas Kaldor, Amartya Sen, Bertrand Russell, Karl Popper, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Eric Hobsbawm, Anthony Giddens and several others taking the lead. CAMSED seeks to follow in those footsteps and contribute to this exceptional and venerable tradition through its membership.

CAMSED members hold seminars, lectures, workshops and talk series within five key areas: 1) Education and social development; 2) De-growth and ecological economics; 3) History and philosophy of development; 4) Global political economy of development; 5) Working in development institutions. If you’d like to lead an initiative within these areas as a member of Camsed, don’t hesitate to get in touch at LE298@cam.ac.uk

 1.   Education and social development
This theme aims to promote discussions on education and social policy and more broadly the role of social welfare in a developmental context.

    2. De-growth and ecological economics
While climate change is one of the global facts of our time, it affects societies depending on the geographic locations and economic capacities in different ways. We seek to launch a dialogue between perspectives from the global South and North on the challenge of ecological limits to growth and discuss visions for a global political economy that reconciles the material needs of humankind with our natural environment.

    3. History and Philosophy of Development
Discussions of development tend to assume that we all know what development is, and we only need to question how it is best done. This theme explores the ways in which development has come to be understood, how it can or ought to be understood, and the power relations implicit in those understandings.

    4. Global political economy of development
The idea of development is often attributed to the notion of backwardness of one part of the world as compared to the more ‘developed’ industrialized countries. Under this line of inquiry we would like to take a global stance on development and ask for the interrelatedness and historical determination of global economic structures as well as social inequalities.

    5. Working in Development institutions
The diversity of professional backgrounds of the students at the Centre of Development Studies is one of its greatest assets. Through discussions sessions, we seek to reflect upon their experiences and the opportunities, challenges and political implications of work in development institutions or various sorts.

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