Lines of Research

1. Globalization, Crisis and Development Alternatives

Here we undertake an in-depth look at the global capitalist context with the intention of identifying the ongoing processes of transformation, be they geopolitical, economic, social or cultural. It is of interest, first, to identify the problems and challenges faced by those who pursue development in our societies and do it from a comprehensive historical and conceptual understanding of the current phase of capitalism. This line of research begins by identifying the most important contours of the reorganization of production, finance and world markets; the nature of contemporary imperialism; the character of the new international division of labor and its accompanying modalities of unequal exchange; the growing social asymmetries and inequalities; the severe attacks that the environment is suffering; and the dire situation that confronts the working class and popular sectors. Likewise, we are interested in, on the one hand, untangling the nature, characteristics and reach of this global, multidimensional crisis which contemporary capitalism is experiencing (which some authors understand as 'civilizational') and, on the other hand, digging deeper into the debates and new thinking around the theory and practice of development, from 'new developmentalism' to the 'alternatives to development' and new visions of development that are anti-systemic, anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist.

2. Local, regional and sustainable development

On this topic, we intend to examine the theory and practice of development at the local and regional levels, incorporating an environmental perspective. This includes the new paradigms that are being formulated to respond to the problems and challenges that are inherent in the current phase of capitalism, particularly with respect to the limits of orthodox liberalism and heterodox structuralism. The new approaches conceive of development from a multidimensional perspective, embracing economic, technological, social, political, cultural, ethical and environmental factors determined by a specific temporal-spatial context. Social participation, via social organizations and movements, and their relations with the environment and the defense of common goods, is of particular interest in this approach because of its effects upon development. It is important to consider the urban question, environmental destruction, and the problematic of accumulation by dispossession of peasant and indigenous peoples' communities, through mega-mining projects (extractivism and neo-extractivism), land-grabbing and changes to cultivation patterns.

3. Development, Migration and Human Rights

The purpose of this line of research is to elaborate on the problematic of development, migration and human rights from a multidimensional perspective and through the prism of critical thinking. We seek, primarily, to examine the reach and characteristics of the new migratory dynamic, identifying its causes and implications for the communities, countries and regions of origin, transit and destination, as well as for the migrants and their families. This includes gender relations, the migration of minors, changes in geography and migratory paths and patterns. It also includes the occupational spectrum of trans-border and internal workers; changes in the dynamics of internal migration and their relation to international migration; the construction of strategic indicators to demystify the dominant views of the migratory phenomenon; the use and destination of family and collective remittances; the advances in the structure and organization of migrant communities; the violation of migrants' human rights and that of their families; the trafficking and smuggling of people; the involvement of organized crime within the migration phenomenon; the problems arising from migrant return and massive deportations; the question of refugees and environmentally-displaced persons; and skilled migration from the perspective of the restructuring of innovation systems.

4. Science, Technology and Innovation

Contemporary capitalism is characterized by a profound restructuring of innovation systems. This is taking place under modalities of internationalization and giving rise to the fragmentation of innovation activities, open innovation frameworks, the development of 'scientific cities', strategic investment (dominated by international monopoly capital) and the growing participation of scientists and technologies drawn from the peripheral countries. Likewise, it is characterized by an increased rhythm of patent filings associated with an unprecedented commercialization and privatization of intangible common goods. This phenomenon, far from contributing to a development of the forces of production oriented toward the satisfaction of social needs, has contributed to a greater concentration and centralization of wealth in an ever-decreasing number of multinational corporations, which are themselves driving and administering the development of science and technology with explicit goals of profit-making and monopoly control of markets, without regard for the consequences faced by the majority of the population or for the environment. This line of research seeks to examine this phenomenon in all of its complexity, analyzing the different modalities of innovation involved, with particular emphasis on the development of alternative curricula and research agendas such as the development of innovative ways to create and facilitate knowledge dialogues tied to the dynamics of emancipatory social transformation and the promotion of the common good.