Global Development Studies
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David's research interests relate primarily to the delivery of basic services in the global South (such as water, electricity and health care), but encompass a broad spectrum of related questions around urbanization, environmental justice and uneven development. Much of this research has been conducted via the Municipal Services Project (www.municipalservicesproject.org) which he founded and has been co-director of since 2000. Theoretically, he is interested in competing conceptions of ‘public' and how they have changed and been transformed under neoliberalism. As a political economist his focus in on the financial, institutional and ideological elements that tie everyday service delivery to the larger currents of (re)production, but he is also interested in a wide range of geographical and socio-cultural concepts of space and place that make up the broader connectivities of public engagement, from gender relations to different notions of ‘value'. Regionally, the bulk of his work has been in Southern Africa but he has been directly involved in research in other parts of Africa and in Latin America, and now oversees research throughout the global South, and to some extent in Europe and North America. His research has had a largely urban focus, primarily on questions of service delivery but more broadly on questions of urbanization and the increasing connectivity of cities through so-called ‘world city networks'. The latter raise important questions about the changing nature of global capitalism and present challenging - and fruitful - questions about the nature of public services that are equitable, affordable and accessible to all.
For a list of selected publications by Dr. McDonald, go to http://www.queensu.ca/devs/faculty-staff/devs-faculty/david-mcdonald