What Next Volume II – The case for pluralism


This volume build further on the What Next project with several articles that critically discusses fundamental issues such as knowledge and the very idea of 'development', as well as forward-looking reflections on new challenges and ways to mobilise transformative action for change.


  • The need for pluralistic frameworks that recognises diversity as a strength and cautions against a universal blueprint is at the core of alternative development thinking.
  • Already in the 1975 Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation publication What Now: Another Development diversity and pluralism are at the core.
  • Another Development’ stated that development should be:
  • 1) need-oriented – being geared to meeting human needs
  • 2) endogenous – stemming from the heart of each society
  • 3) self-reliant – implying that each society relies primarily on its own strength and resources
  • 4) ecologically sound – in full awareness of the potential of local ecosystems as well as the global and local outer limits
  • 5) based on structural transformation


There is a dire need to reshape thinking on development, progress and society at the core, and to question many deeply held assumptions. The space for imagination and visionary thinking is often unnecessarily limited. We must also recognise the many layers of challenges where ‘solutions’ may turn – or may already have turned – into new problems. It is of great importance to anticipate such problematic trajectories and look for alternative paths that can take us to a decent and sustainable future. This requires unconventional thinking, and the consideration of a broad range of alternatives – a strong case for pluralism. This is what this What Next volume is all about. This is also the departure point for the new, indpendent What Next Initiative."

Authors: Editor: Niclas Hällström
Year of publishing: 2009
Number of pages: 204
Download: English