(Dis)comfort, judgement and solidarity: affective politics of academic publishing in development studies

Kaira Zoe Alburo-Cañete, Shonali Ayesha Banerjee, Sochanny Hak, Tanya Jakimow*, Chanrith Ngin, Mahardhika Sjamsoe’oed Sadjad, Susanne Schech, Yvonne Underhill-Sem, Joyce Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
71 Downloads (Pure)


The publication of a controversial article in Third World Quarterly and the consequent unveiling and critical questioning of journal practices continue to engender strong negative feelings for many scholars. At a critical juncture within the publication process of this collection, we faced an ethical dilemma regarding how to maintain political and ethical commitments while manoeuvring within a sometimes hostile academic environment. Here we examine the dilemma and its resolutions to reflect on configurations of power in academia. Through the lenses of (dis)comfort, judgement and solidarity, we examine the affective intensities that shaped our individual and collective decisions. Reflections on the process reveal the need to attend to how affects shape the resolution of shared ethical dilemmas in ways that reinforce structural (dis)advantages. We argue that ‘comfort’, achieved through solidarities, allows for the navigation of the ethical-political in ways open to multiple possibilities. Decolonial practice should attend to affective practices that privilege some claims over others and limit the capacity of future scholars to shape the ethical terrain of development studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-683
Number of pages11
JournalThird World Quarterly
Issue number3
Early online date9 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Sarah Homan and Regina Macalandag, who were part of the discussions that form the core of this paper. While they contributed greatly to the decision-making process, they chose not to be included as authors for this article. We are exceptionally grateful to the time and guidance of several academics who we approached for advice; your collegiality meant a great deal to us. Thank you to the editor, Shahid Qadir, for your response to our queries and for your patience, and to several former and current members of the editorial board for your advice. Anonymous reviewers and editorial board guidance also helped to sharpen the arguments in this viewpoint piece. Finally, thank you to the established scholars who responded to our request to review an article with well-intentioned advice, and for the extensive email exchanges among us.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Global South Ltd.

Research programs



Dive into the research topics of '(Dis)comfort, judgement and solidarity: affective politics of academic publishing in development studies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this