Formulating the SDGs: Reproducing or Reimagining State-Centered Development?

Kathleen Sexsmith, Philip McMichael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Reformulation of the millennium development goals comes at a time when their realization is falling short. ‘Development as usual’ through global goal setting is in question in context of the recent conjunction of global food, energy, and financial crises. Given the evidence of problematic world-scale restructuring, it is puzzling that SDG visioning continues to assign principal responsibility to states for the post-2015 development agenda. We regard this as an epistemic blind spot that foregoes an opportunity to reorient planning to accommodate the global dimensions of these crises—and their possible solutions. In particular, we note that current forms of land enclosure, and migrant labor generation, are inadequately addressed by state-centric measures, especially with respect to the rights of land users and stateless workers. We offer recommendations for complementing and modifying nationally generated metrics with a more empowering agenda.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-596
Number of pages16
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 4 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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