7th Conference on ‘Diversity and Development’ at TISS, Mumbai On 2 & 3 March 2020


Date: March 2, 2020 - March 3, 2020

7th Conference on ‘Diversity and Development’
Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Deonar, Mumbai -400088
On 2 & 3 March 2020
Organised By
Professor Abdul Shaban
School of Development Studies
Dr TF Thekkekara (Retd IAS),
Former Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra
Professor Zinat Aboli
Mithibai College, Mumbai

Research on determinants of ‘development’ have largely neglected the cultural factors and focussed on economic and political variables. The cultural diversities like ethnic, religious, linguistic, etc, had been regarded as hindrance to development. In this context, Vernon Ruttan (1991) wrote, ‘‘Cultural considerations have been cast into the ‘underworld’ of developmental thought and practice. It would be hard to find a leading scholar in the field of developmental economics who would commit herself or himself in print to the proposition that in terms of explaining different patterns of political and economic development . . . a central variable is culture” (p.276). For a long time, we have been beguiled into the Aristotelian argument that “diverse states are more susceptible to development inhibiting strife” (Lian and Oneal 1997: 61). Many also argue that cultural diversity is associated with political instability and that retards the economic growth and development at large. The arguments have also been extended that diversity in democratic countries will lead to multiparty system and polarization compromising the efficiently of democracy through gridlocks. However, these views have no universal acceptance. In fact, many argue that the diversity will lead to flexibility, learning, adaptation, development of labour diversity and specialization, innovation and socio-economic sustainability, which may also positively influence and shape the ecological sustainability.

In recent years, the studies have highlighted the positive impact of diversity on economic development and cultural change. Diverse set of cultures, communities and people offer the possibilities of learnings and improving from one another and various ways of doing things helps in innovations. Among others, the diversity leads to the economic growth through diversification of industries, labour specializations, and sustained demands of different goods and services by different communities. The temporality of demand of goods and services are also catered to by diversity- as the communities have their cultural, religious and other related festivals falling in different seasons and hence demands. This does not allow the demand to slacken and economy to dampen. The diverse societies can also mutually cooperate and negotiate for responsible consumption and production. As such, diversity in peaceful democratic societies have enormous potential to directly address the SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions), and SDG 17 (Partnerships for the SD Goals), and indirectly help in achieving other SDGs.

Speaking about India, Indian society is very diverse, and it is a huge resource for the country for its economic development and socio-cultural change in right direction. The country has thousands of dialects, hundreds of languages, hundreds of ethnic and cultural communities, and followers in sizeable numbers of all the major religions of the world. The diversity shaped appropriately can create unity of all, or what can be called Sulh-i kul, or ‘understanding amongst all’, or 'absolute peace' or Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (world as a family or accepting the diversity and living together). Historically, in India, this policy has been promoted by different kings, empires, principalities and after the Independence by the Constitution of India. This also helped in developing strong institution of democracy, courts and larger administration, where their rulings and suggestions are accepted and taken forward in positive manners for peace, development and coexistence.

However, there has been a lack of adequate number of researches elsewhere and also in India on relationship between diversity and development (used in holistic sense). The present Conference, therefore, attempts to bring to focus this important area of research, with emphasis on the following (though not limited to):

  • Diversity and Innovation
  • Diversity and Economic Growth
  • Diversity and Regional Development
  • Diversity and Creative Industries
  • Diversity and Social Change
  • Diversity and Social, Political and Economic Institutions
  • Diversity and Democracy
  • Diversity Management
  • Diversity and Gender
  • Diversity and Sustainability
  • Diversity and SDGs

Submission of Abstract/Paper:

We invite Abstract of 500 words highlighting the research problem, data, methods and major findings. The last date of submission of abstract is February 15, 2020. Applicants will communicated about acceptance of their abstract by February 20, 2020. Full draft papers need to be submitted by February 28, 2020.

Abstract can be emailed to:


In case of need for any other communication and urgency: please contact Professor Abdul Shaban on email shaban@tiss.edu

We intend to select important papers based on their potentials and advice from referees to publish them in a Special Journal Issue or as an Edited Volume (to be decided later) from a reputed international publisher.

Venue for the conference: The conference will be held at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Deonar, Mumbai.

Registration Fee: The registration for the conference is open till February 15, 2020. The registration fee for the Conference is

  1. INR 2500 per person for Indian participants.
  2. Euro 60 per person for SAARC participants.
  3. Euro 100 per person for participants from other countries.

The payment of the Registration Fee can be made through:


Note: We have a shortage of accommodations at TISS and therefore we request all the participants to arrange for their own accommodation. There are a few good hotels available nearby and they can be booked through any travel website.