Browsing by Subject "kehitysmaatutkimus"

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  • Luhtavaara, Antto (2008)
    Tarkastelen tutkimuksessani altistuneen kenialaisen nuoren aikuisen sisäisen semioosin ja kenialaisen yhteiskunnan moninaisten sosiosemioosien suhdetta. Altistunut (“exposed”) tarkoittaa paikallisessa slangissa, shengissä, henkilöä, joka on päässyt kokemaan muunkinlaisia konteksteja kuin vain oman heimonsa ja kotikylänsä. Tarkoitus on selvittää, minkälaiseksi 1980-luvulla syntynyt altistunut kenialainen kokee oman tavoitteellisen toimintansa yhteiskunnassa. Tarkoitus on myös pohtia, miksi nuoret aikuiset haluavat niin kovasti altistua yhä laajempaan kontekstiin ja miten altistuminen vaikuttaa heidän tapaansa hahmottaa maailmaa, muita ihmisiä ja muita tavoitteita. Tein kenttätyöni syys-lokakuussa 2007 Keniassa, Kisumun kaupungissa ja sen lähialueilla. Pääaineistoni koostuu 41:stä keskimäärin tunnin kestäneestä kahdenkeskisestä haastattelusta, jotka kävimme englanniksi. Lisäksi tein lukuisia muita haastatteluja, kävin keskusteluja ja havainnoin yhteiskuntaa. Sain noin puolet haastateltavistani Suomen Luterilaisen Evankeliumiyhdistyksen kautta. Toisen puolen sain paikallisen Masenon yliopiston luennoitsijoiden avustuksella. Lähestyn sisäistä semioosia teoreettisesti kolmen teoreettisen käsitteen kautta: tavoitteiden, keinojen ja arvojen kudelmana. Margaret S. Archer (2003) kuvaa tavoitteiden merkitystä sisäisessä keskustelussa: kuinka tavoitteet suhtautuvat toisiinsa ja kuinka ne ohjaavat toimijaa? Mikael Leiman (1992, 1994, 2003) ja hänen kollegansa kuvaavat semioottisesti sitä toimijan keinojen repertuaaria, joka muodostuu vuorovaikutuksessa makrotason yhteiskunnan, toisten toimijoiden ja itsensä kanssa. Eero Tarasti (2000, 2004) erottelee analyyttisesti kolmenlaisia arvoja, jotka ovat erottamaton osa koettavien merkkien merkityksiä sisäisessä semioosissa. Hahmotin kentältä kolme analyyttisesti eroteltavaa sosiosemioottista kieltä: heimotradition, paikallisen kristillisyyden ja lokaalin länsimaalaisuuden kielen. Kielet erottuvat toisistaan arvomaailmaltaan, auktoriteeteiltaan ja maantieteellisiltä konteksteiltaan. Kielet eivät juurikaan sekoitu keskenään, vaan toimija joutuu sitoutumaan eri konteksteissa erilaisiin toimintatapoihin, arvoihin ja uskomuksiin. Kielet eivät myöskään pääse kehittymään avoimesti, koska sisäinen merkitysten avaaminen ja niistä keskusteleminen on mahdotonta. Traditioiden ja kristillisyyden kielissä auktoriteetti on merkitsijä, joka sulkee merkitykset ehdottomiksi. Lokaalissa länsimaalaisuudessa merkitsijää ei ole, mutta myöskään merkityksiä avaavaa keskustelua ei ole olemassa. Paikallinen altistumiseen tähtäävä toimija joutuu suhtautumaan ympäröiviin sosiosemiooseihin strategisesti tai välttelevästi. Kyseenalaistamiseen tai merkityksistä neuvottelemiseen ei ole varaa. Altistuminen on jatkuvaa kilpailua aineellisistä ja informatiivisista resursseista, joita koetaan olevan niukasti. Yhteiskunnan läpäissyt kilpailuajattelu tekee kahden toimijan välisestä luottamuksesta ja avautuvasta läheisyydestä mahdotonta. Altistuminen alistaa kaikki muut tavoitteet odottamaan altistumisen riittävää toteutumista. Se on tavoite, joka merkitsee mielenkiintoisten uusien kokemusten lisäksi valtavaa elintasomuutosta. Tavoitteelliselle toimijalle ei jää vaihtoehtoja.
  • Onodera, Henri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    This is an ethnographic study of the lived experiences of young activists during the last years of Mubarak s presidency in Egypt. Its general aim is to provide an understanding of what it was like to be involved in opposition politics during a period when the eventual end of Mubarak s rule in 2011 was little more than a collective aspiration. Drawing on different strands of qualitative social science, including anthropology, sociology and youth research, the study is based on 12 months of fieldwork in Cairo, conducted between 2007 and 2011. It makes use of political engagement as an open analytic that enables the examination of different activities that were oriented towards, but not exclusive to, public political processes and formal avenues to political participation. In this vein, the study explores the activities that the young activists regarded as meaningful in terms of challenging the status quo, and how being young in itself shaped their ways of participating in public political life. While it focuses on the experiences of young Cairenes who were predominantly male and aged in their 20s, it is acknowledged that important differences existed among them that conditioned their efforts to acquire new visibilities and political roles, including social differences such as class, gender and global connectedness. In order to explore the diversity of their political experiences, the study discusses four principal areas of analysis and related topics: namely, generational consciousness, tactical practice, friendship relations and ethical reflections. It is demonstrated that, firstly, the new forms of youth activism in the 2000s promoted a critical generational consciousness as a disenfranchised social location in the intergenerational order, while also providing reinvigorated meanings to youth as a subversive political category, and in some ways a privileged experiential realm, ready to conduct public political dissent on its own terms. The new youth movements, such as Youth for Change and April 6 Youth that emerged on the fringes of larger processes of contentious politics, assumed new roles in public political life and merged, at least temporarily, young Egyptians from different backgrounds and affiliations into collective actions: forging alliances, largely beyond the formal political institutions. Secondly, the young activists resorted to a number of tactical practices in order to reach out to wider publics via both offline and online avenues. Their operating preferences lay in organizing unlicensed street protests in the popular, lower-class residential areas and tapping into the subversive potential of the new information and communication technologies, including blogs and social media. Although these forms of public dissent expanded their otherwise narrow political opportunities, their adoption was not, however, equally available to everyone. Some either had the necessary social networks in place, including family support, or the available time and the economic means to do so, while those, who were less equipped for public dissent, could nonetheless acquire new combinations of practical skills, knowledge and social connections that enabled them to enact their sense of meaningful political action. At the same time, the efforts to build youth coalitions faced a number of challenges, one of which was internal factionalism, which, coupled with the growing use of social media, diversified the scope of youth activism in the run-up period to the 2011 uprisings. Thirdly, being a young activist in the late 2000s provided much more varied everyday experiences than merely the acts of public political dissent. It also involved absorbing pre-existing oppositional culture and adopting dissident lifestyles that were filled with shared moments of being and doing things with others on a daily basis. In the absence of representative political institutions, the experiences of having friends and being a friend to others offered intimate avenues to public political life that stretched beyond kin ties and formal organizations. Although oppositional youth activism was divided along lines of class, gender and political affiliation, the young could forge mutual grounds for friendship relations on the basis of their shared experiences and stories of contention, while frequenting downtown Cairo as the main hub of their everyday trajectories. Although friendship relations were at times volatile in the contested field of politics, safeguarding the bonds of trust, belonging and everyday solidarity represented highly relevant everyday activities. Fourthly, the young Cairenes were faced with a number of ethical reflections on the meaningfulness of their own dissent practices, not the least due to the personals risks that opposition politics involved in authoritarian settings. While the prospect of impoverishment did not generally motivate their political engagements, they shared a sense of injured patriotism that prevailed in the wider prodemocracy movement, and aspired to greater recognition as rightful citizens. At the same time, they operated on an ambivalent moral terrain that required positioning one s self and others in relation to normative claims to the common good; furthermore, they had to contend with popular suspicion about the impact of their public political dissent and about possible motives for their activism, such as the pursuit of social status and personal wellbeing. Despite the differences that existed among the activist youth in terms of class and gender, however, they could in part challenge these types of speculations by enacting the prevailing ideals of personhood in terms of bravery, righteousness and self-sacrifice. Meanwhile, although the young Cairenes were embedded in the moral worlds of prodemocracy mobilization, they were also compelled to balance their political engagements in terms of multiple life transitions, especially in terms of balancing their activism with the requirements of gaining a livelihood. While there were multiple ways of being or becoming an activist in the late Mubarak era, the young Cairenes political engagements were connected to their collective pursuit of playing a meaningful role in what happened in the present, while acknowledging that Egypt s future was intimately tied to their own life trajectories.
  • Mattila, Päivi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    This study explores labour relations between domestic workers and employers in India. It is based on interviews with both employers and workers, and ethnographically oriented field work in Jaipur, carried out in 2004-2007. Combining development studies with gender studies, labour studies, and childhood studies, it asks how labour relations between domestic workers and employers are formed in Jaipur, and how female domestic workers trajectories are created. Focusing on female part-time maids and live-in work arrangements, the study analyses children s work in the context of overall work force, not in isolation from it. Drawing on feminist Marxism, domestic labour relations are seen as an arena of struggle. The study takes an empirical approach, showing class through empiria and shows how paid domestic work is structured and stratified through intersecting hierarchies of class, caste, gender, age, ethnicity and religion. The importance of class in domestic labour relations is reiterated, but that of caste, so often downplayed by employers, is also emphasized. Domestic workers are crucial to the functioning of middle and upper middle class households, but their function is not just utilitarian. Through them working women and housewives are able to maintain purity and reproduce class disctinctions, both between poor and middle classes and lower and upper middle classes. Despite commodification of work relations, traditional elements of service relationships have been retained, particularly through maternalist practices such as gift giving, creating a peculiar blend of traditional and market practices. Whilst employers of part-time workers purchase services in a segmented market from a range of workers for specific, traditional live-in workers are also hired to serve employers round the clock. Employers and workers grudgingly acknowledged their dependence on one another, employers seeking various strategies to manage fear of servant crime, such as the hiring of children or not employing live-in workers in dual-earning households. Paid domestic work carries a heavy stigma and provide no entry to other jobs. It is transmitted from mothers to daughters and working girls were often the main income providers in their families. The diversity of working conditions is analysed through a continuum of vulnerability, generic live-in workers, particularly children and unmarried young women with no close family in Jaipur, being the most vulnerable and experienced part-time workers the least vulnerable. Whilst terms of employment are negotiated informally and individually, some informal standards regarding salary and days off existed for maids. However, employers maintain that workings conditions are a matter of individual, moral choice. Their reluctance to view their role as that of employers and the workers as their employees is one of the main stumbling blocks in the way of improved working conditions. Key words: paid domestic work, India, children s work, class, caste, gender, life course
  • Valkila, Joni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    The objective of this dissertation is to study the opportunities and challenges of the Fair Trade certification system in altering conditions of coffee production in Nicaragua. The aim is to analyze the advantages as well as the constraints of Fair Trade in assisting farmers and their cooperatives, involving them in the governance of coffee value chains and improving labor conditions. The study highlights the context of increased globalization, deregulation of coffee markets, and declining and volatile coffee prices. The research methods utilized were primarily qualitative. Seven months of fieldwork was carried out in Nicaragua in 2005-2006 and 2008 to interview and observe a wide range of actors in Fair Trade and conventional coffee production and trade. Value chain analysis and convention theory were utilized as theoretical frameworks to understand if Fair Trade can improve the position of small-scale farmers and hired workers as participants in the global economy. Through the lenses of value chain analysis Fair Trade is seen as a governance mechanism where multiple actors with diverse interests influence each other in their interactions in establishing rules and norms for conditions of production. The results indicate that Fair Trade has supported certified producer organizations particularly during the extremely low coffee prices in 2000-2004. However, Fair Trade is a limited market existing parallel to conventional trade. This results in farmers and cooperatives selling a large part of their production to conventional markets and market prices having a greater importance for them than Fair Trade-regulated prices. Since 2005, market prices have frequently been above or close to Fair Trade minimum prices, reducing the significance of Fair Trade- controlled prices. Certified farmers are vulnerable to price volatility also because when market prices are higher than Fair Trade minimum prices, the price volatility is the same for Fair Trade and conventional coffee. Fair Trade does not require that higher than market prices be paid to certified farmers. Prices and services offered by Fair Trade certified cooperatives to farmers have not remarkably exceeded those offered by conventional actors in Nicaragua. Although the minimum price system is a safety net in case of a future price collapse, the results of this research indicate that challenges exist in distributing benefits equally between and within producer organizations. The implementation of minimum prices also involves other practical challenges such as to what level prices should be set under constantly changing market prices. The physical quality characteristics of coffee affect its price and, because they are so varied, it is impossible to create a pricing system taking all these characteristics into consideration. The Fair Trade premium for social development has provided financing for cooperatives and farmers. While some of these funds have been targeted to pressing social needs, a large part of the funds have been used to finance improvements in producer organizations and to pay for certification fees, undermining the ability of these funds to focus on social issues. In addition to the Fair Trade social premium, cooperatives and farmers have been assisted by numerous development projects. As a result, infrastructure in cooperatives has improved. A possibility for making Fair Trade pricing more transparent for all actors in the value chain would be to make the social premium a percentage of retail price of Fair Trade products and to document more carefully its use in improving cooperative and farm infrastructure and management as well as its use to improve social conditions in coffee producing communities. Fair Trade has not significantly altered the working conditions of hired labor in coffee production in Nicaragua. Because the advantages Fair Trade offers to farmers and cooperatives are limited and vary in different contexts, the system cannot present strict demands on improved working conditions. The participation of farmers and workers in formulating Fair Trade policies is narrow, as evidenced by most of the interviewed farmers and hired laborers not knowing they were involved in producing Fair Trade coffee and what this entailed. Despite changes aimed at involving producer organizations in Fair Trade governance, Northern actors exercise the greatest control of the system. Approximately half of Fair Trade certified farmers are also organically certified, globally and in Nicaragua. Although the Fair Trade/organic farmers receive price premiums, the benefits of Fair Trade are not clear-cut. As experienced by the interviewed farmers, organic farming has lower yields, especially when higher intensity management systems are compared. As a result, price premiums do not necessarily lead to higher income compared to alternatives. Inequalities in the distribution of value creation are estimated to be higher in Fair Trade than conventional coffee in the case of coffee trade from Nicaragua to Finland. In absolute terms, Fair Trade has offered slightly higher prices to producer organizations particularly when Fair Trade minimum price has exceeded market prices. In view of the many difficulties coffee production has faced in Nicaragua in recent decades, Fair Trade certified cooperatives have been successful. Fair Trade can provide financing for development and reduce price risk. However, many other risks exist for farmers and cooperatives including loss of crops due to diseases or adverse weather conditions. If small-scale coffee production in cooperatives is to thrive, well-managed cooperatives and farms are needed. Many Fair Trade certified farmers produce low volumes of coffee. While price premiums are welcome, income from small quantity of coffee remains meager. As a result, some Fair Trade farmers are trapped in poverty.
  • Ranta, Eija M. (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    This is an ethnographic study of the politics of indigeneity in the contemporary Bolivian state transformation process. It is a story of an attempt to transform the state through indigenous ideas in a poor and ethnically heterogeneous country in the Global South. By following the notion of vivir bien, good life, a term that has emerged in Bolivia s political and policy discourses since the election of Evo Morales as the first indigenous president of the country in December 2005, it examines contested articulations between policy, politics, and power. Through ethnographic examination of what is said and done in the name of good life by key policy actors such as ministers, public servants, development experts, and indigenous activists, this study aims to develop a critical understanding of the notion of good life both as a democratizing discursive construction and as a contested practice. It pretends to unveil the multiple and intricate ways in which power works is articulated and contested not solely between the governing regime and its political opposition but also within the ruling political party, within the state bureaucracy, and between and within local social movements. Methodologically, this study is a response to the challenge of the changing circumstances of indigenous peoples in contemporary Bolivia: if representatives of social movements, indigenous organizations, and peasant unions have shifted from rural communities to the presidential palace and ministerial cabinets, the methodological choices of those who study indigenous peoples have to respond to this situation. In line with this, this study discusses how the bureaucratic context of the state in which new indigenous policy ideas circulate can be grasped, ethnographically, by tracking the notion of vivir bien. Additionally, it asks what comparative advantage an ethnographic approach brings to the examination of policy making and state formation amidst processes of social change. The data is based on a six-month ethnographic fieldwork in La Paz between 2008 and 2009. Additional insights are drawn from earlier stays in Bolivia for a total of 13 months. Amidst global inequalities, there is an urgent demand for the examination of critical political alternatives and perceptions of new kinds of development , which are emerging in the Global South in response to and often opposed to the global capitalist political economy. The examination of the notion of vivir bien in contemporary Bolivian state transformation process pretends to make a contribution to this end. Consequently, this study examines theoretically how discourses and practices of social change are produced; how the state works in processes of change; and, how power and rule operate in the context of indigenous challenge to state formation. It makes a case for the utility of moving at the intersections of social anthropology, political science and development studies; and, from a theoretical perspective, at the intersections of postcolonial critique, postmodern Foucauldian approaches and political economy. Although global and local processes are crucial to indigenous experience, this study indicates that the state is, and has increasingly become, an important reference point for indigenous peoples and social movements. The Bolivian state is the object of transformation through the application of indigenous policy and the provision of political alternatives but it is also the subject through which changes are executed. The politics of indigeneity is perceived as a contested combination of identity concerns and resource struggles. Today, the battles are also fought through state policy, which is a heterogeneous and contingent assemblage that produces and articulates diverse forms of power and governance. In the process of indigenous change, as this study illuminates, the state has become a battlefield between three kinds of historically constructed governmental schemes of improvement. Indigenous, neoliberal, and state-led models for social change articulate and often conflict with each other, illustrating the insight that the state works in complex and articulated ways. Furthermore, indicates the study, various forms of power and rule overlap and collide with each other. This conflictive interaction between governmental, disciplinary, and authoritarian forms of power and rule seems to impede and challenge the potential of radically democratizing indigenous ideas by hampering their translation into bureaucratic practice. This has implications for the more normative question of the feasibility of radical political alternatives that aim to counteract economic globalization and the universalism of development ideas through the politics of indigeneity. Key words: vivir bien, decolonization, plurinationalism, sovereignty, indigeneity, development policy, state formation, politics, power, ethnography, governmentality, postcolonial critique, Bolivia.
  • Stocchetti, Marikki (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    This dissertation revolves around the enigmatic role of development policy in the European Union (EU), and its place and purpose in relation to the EU’s trade policy and to the Union at large. In particular, it looks at the preconditions that direct the EU’s work for the international development objectives of poverty eradication and sustainable development. In this regard, there has been considerable debate on policy coherence for development, or in other words, on how the EU policies in the field of trade work in favour of, or against, development goals. In fact, the EU has made binding commitments in the EU treaties and in international conventions to advance coherence from a development perspective. However, what actually constitutes policy coherence for development in the EU, and how it is defined and promoted have largely remained unstudied to date. In addition, the question of the power to establish common standards for policy coherence deserves a closer look, both within the EU and in global governance at large. This contribution aims to fill this research gap by tracing the key development- and trade-related processes and analysing their outcomes. These include the first joint policy statement by the European Commission, the European Council and the Parliament, entitled the European Consensus on Development (2005-), as well as those elements of the EU trade policy that were officially declared to manifest policy coherence for development. Regarding the latter, the EU position in relation to the WTO Doha Development Round, as well as the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), is a case in point. The dissertation addresses these issues in the broader historical, international and institutional settings before the Lisbon Treaty (2009), but also draws lessons for the present. The primary data consist of official EU documents and 34 semi-structured interviews with development and trade actors involved in these processes. Drawing on two analytical frameworks – power in global governance (Barnett & Duvall 2005) and normative power Europe (Manners 2002; 2006) – I examine the formation of the policy coherence for development principle in the EU’s development- and trade-related texts, discourse production and social practices that define, naturalise and reproduce certain norms while dismissing others (cf. Fairclough 1992; 2003). My findings indicate that the EU’s contribution to policy coherence for development is affected by intra- and inter-institutional tensions, as well as by ambiguity surrounding the role and purpose of development policy in the Union. In particular, I demonstrate how the proactive role of the Commission in the policy initiation was triggered primarily by the changes in the security and trade branches of the external relations, rather than by learning from the past development policies and its own goal attainment. Although these linkages can be seen as a strategic choice to improve the institutional position of European Community development policy both within the Commission as well as between the Commission and the Council, this choice compromised the development policy content. This tendency is particularly clear in the gradually narrowed, administratively and technically oriented approach to policy coherence for development. In relation to trade, policy coherence was limited mainly to the EU market access proposals for the Least Developed Countries. This aspect of trade liberalisation formed the core for both the international and EU consensus on trade and development. In turn, the reciprocal liberalisation of developing country markets under the Economic Partnership Agreements was initially much weaker. This changed with the dominant role and interests of DG Trade, which adopted the development policy discourse and influenced the Commission policy on development and trade. Consequently, the reciprocal free trade format and the European Commission’s interpretation of international trade law (i.e. GATT Article XXIV) also became the official understanding of policy coherence for development in the EU. As a result, the EU’s model for policy coherence is inclined towards trade policy coherence and in favour of the overall consistency of the Union, rather than policy coherence for development. Therefore, the EU’s normative model risks being inadequate when it comes to safeguarding and advancing development policy goals.
  • Lahikainen, Johanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2016)
    Verkkari ; 2016-11-10
    Entinen kollegamme Riikka Saar menehtyi 5.8.2016 vaikean sairauden murtamana 72-vuotiaana. Riikka teki kirjastotyötä Helsingin yliopistossa 38 vuotta ja jäi eläkkeelle vuonna 2012.
  • Hänninen, Erja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    The objective of this thesis is to study policy making in the Nepalese rural water supply and sanitation sector by analysing the process of national policy formulation and how the donors and their policies influence the national policies in aid recipient country, such as Nepal. It exposes the dynamics underlying the interaction between donors and the Nepalese water bureaucracies by focusing on the analysis of the roles, motives and interests of the sectoral actors in the making of policies. The study highlights the political side in the aid giving and receiving through making use of the politics of policy theoretical perspective. The rural water supply and sanitation sector was chosen as the framework for this study, because of the important role that water has for Nepal often presented as the blue gold of Nepal and the multiple and powerful donors that are active in the sector, for whom the water sector is also an important investment target. The policy making process is analysed through a case study, the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Policy, Strategy and Action Plan formulated in 2002-2004 and funded by the Asian Development Bank. The empirical evidence of this study is based on the mixed qualitative methods research done in Kathmandu, Nepal, in the summers of 2009 and 2010. The core data is based on the interviews of 89 people, as well as water supply and sanitation related policy documents draft versions, final policy documents and reports, prepared in the process of policy formulation. In addition, I have included a wide-ranging literature study. The research illuminates that policy making in the Nepalese rural water supply and sanitation sector is a game between donors and the water bureaucracies both having political and economic interests that they aim to secure in policy formulation. Based on these interests, the policy actors manoeuvre in the policy negotiations. The aim of the donors is to legitimate their aid towards the donor headquarters through influencing national policy making into their preferred direction in order to keep their business ongoing. Yet, even though the donors are able to influnce policy making, the study found out that the Nepalese water bureaucracies are not powerless in front of the donors, but they have successfully adopted several strategies in manoeuvring the donor influence. Thus, even though the aid relationship is inherently unequal, is not only the donors that have interests and power that drive policy making, but also the water bureaucracies have their own incentive structures that shape the policy processes. The donor involvement in the policy process can be characterised as a state of permanent negotiation, in which policy formulation is just a part of the further institutional entanglement by the donors.
  • Hakkarainen, Minna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    Abstract The study draws on the findings of previous ethnographic studies that picture development practice as a space of contestation in which actors engage with cultural values, history and the socio-political context in ways that create deviations from the project script . The study adds to the debate by approaching the contestation as taking place in language that reflects both existing realities and the discourses in which the actors are positioned. The study conceptualizes development practice as a process of construction of, and negotiating over, meanings. The selected approach suggests that the ambiguity of words that manifests itself in development practice is necessarily a part of development practice as actors simultaneously belong to different and sometimes contradictory contexts in which words are given their meanings. Through case studies of two types of development interventions(a Savings and Credit Intervention and a Village Self-reliance and Development Intervention) by a Finnish NGO in Vietnam, the study drawing from a Bakhtinian reading of aid practice inquires how contestation over meanings of terms central to the NGO s development thinking contribute to changes in the NGO s aid practice in relation to the promotion of gender and democracy. The study argues that multiplicity of meanings has important implications for aid practice and for donors agenda of democracy promotion in aid recipient countries. Promotion of democracy necessarily calls for deep contextual understanding as meanings, manifested in concrete utterances, are also contextual and therefore,may vary in ways that hinder or slow down project implementation. Furthermore,the study argues that non-responsive behaviour to development interventions may reflect prior experiences of unsatisfactory state-led development projects and people s understanding of them. Moreover, the study highlights the role of gendered norms and gender roles in Vietnamese society from the perspective of grassroots democracy promotion by showing how they affect women s access to formal decision making forums in villages. Keywords: development thinking, development practice, NGOs in development, language in development, democracy promotion, grassroots democracy, gender, gendered norms, Vietnam, meaning construction, heteroglossia, monologism, dialogical relationship, Bakhtinian reading.
  • Vihemäki, Heini (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    This Ph.D. thesis Participation or Further Exclusion? Contestations over Forest Conservation and Control in the East Usambara Mountains, Tanzania describes and analyses the shift in the prevailing discourse of forest and biodiversity conservation policies and strategies towards more participatory approaches in Tanzania, and the changes in the practises of resource control. I explore the scope for and limits to the different actors and groups who are considered to form the community, to participate in resource control, in a specific historical and socio-economic context. I analyse whether, how and to which extent the targets of such participatory conservation interventions have been able to affect the formal rules and practices of resource control, and explore their different responses and discursive and other strategies in relation to conservation efforts. I approach the problematic through exploring certain participatory conservation interventions and related negotiations between the local farmers, government officials and the external actors in the case of two protected forest reserves in the southern part of the East Usambaras, Tanzania. The study area belongs to the Eastern Arc Mountains that are valued globally and nationally for their high level of biodiversity and number of endemic and near endemic species. The theoretical approach draws from theorising on power, participation and conservation in anthropology of development and post-structuralist political ecology. The material was collected in three stages between 2003 and 2008 by using an ethnographic approach. I interviewed and observed the actors and their resource use and control practices at the local level, including the representatives of the villagers living close to the protected forests and the conservation agency, but also followed the selected processes and engaged with the non-local agencies involved in the conservation efforts in the East Usambaras. In addition, the more recent processes of change and the actors strategies in resource control were contextualised against the social and environmental history of the study area and the evolvement of institutions of natural resource control. My findings indicate that the discourse of participation that has emerged in global conservation policy debate within the past three decades, and is being institutionalised in the national policies in many countries, including Tanzania, has shaped the practices of forest conservation in the East Usambaras, although in a fragmented and uneven way. Instrumental interpretation of participation, in which it is to serve the goals of improving the control of the forest and making it more acceptable and efficient, has prevailed among the governmental actors and conservation organisations. Yet, there is variation between the different projects and actors promoting participatory conservation regarding the goals and means of participation, e.g. to which extent the local people are to be involved in decision-making. The actors representing communities also have their diverse agendas, understandings and experiences regarding the rationality, outcomes and benefits of being involved in forest control, making the practices of control fluid. The elements of the exclusive conservation thinking and practices co-exist with the more recent participatory processes, and continue to shape the understandings and strategies of the actors involved in resource control. The ideas and narratives of the different discourses are reproduced and selectively used by the parties involved. The idea of forest conservation is not resisted as such by most of the actors at local level, quite the opposite. However, the strict regulations and rules governing access to resources, such as valuable timber species, continue to be disputed by many. Furthermore, the history of control, such as past injustices related to conservation and unfulfilled promises, undermines the participation of certain social groups in resource control and benefit sharing. This also creates controversies in the practices of conservation, and fuels conflicts regarding the establishment of new protected areas. In spite of this, the fact that the representatives of the communities have been invited to the arenas where information is shared, and principles and conditions of forest control and benefit sharing are discussed and partly decided upon, has created expectations among the participants, and opened up opportunities for some of the local actors to enhance their own, and sometimes wider interests in relation to resource control and the related benefits. The local actors experiences of the previous government and other interventions strongly affect how they position themselves in relation to conservation interventions, and their responses and strategies. However, my findings also suggest, in a similar way to research conducted in some other protected areas, that the benefits of participation in conservation and resource control tend to accrue unevenly between different groups of local people, e.g. due to unequal access to information and differences in their initial resources and social position.
  • Heinonen, Hannu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    The study explores the role of the state in regional integration processes. The question is approached through theoretical discussion and two case-studies - SADC (Southern African Development Community) and the EU. The main research question of the study is, what are the possibilities and problems of the integration process in Southern Africa and how do they differ from the possibilities and problems of the integration process in Europe. The undelrying question of the study is why do states decide to participate in an integration process where they have to limit their sovereignty. Review of the theoretical discussion of the integration studies shows that the integration process is affected by several factors on different levels of the international system. But the state plays a central role in integration processes - integration processes are inititated and carried on by the participatig states. The European integration process shows that the interests of the state can change over time. At the beginning of the integration process, the objective was to strengthen participating states. Later EU member states have decided that it is in their interest to deepen the process even if it has meant limitation of their sovereignty. The determinant factor has been that the member states have considered it to be in their interst to deepen the process. In Southern Africa the integration process is only at the beginning. SADC aims to establish a free trade area by 2008. The biggest challenge is how to implement the integration process so that it benefits all member states in a region that is economically dominated by South Africa. In practice this can be achieved through establishment of corrective mechanisms, which ensure equitable distribution of benefits. This would require deeper integration and South Africa to adapt responsibility towards its regional partners. African integration processes in general have not been as successful as for example the EU. African states have been reluctant to limit their sovereignty in favour of regional organisations.This can be explained by the differences between European and African states. The EU member states have been democracies while African states have been characterised by concentration of power in the executive branch. Furthermore the political systems in Africa have been characterised by vertical clientelist reltionships. As a result it has not been in the interest of the political elite to limit the state sovereignty in favour of regional organisations. In recent years SADC has been relatively succesful in its integration process and reforms, but a lot remains to be done before the implementation of the free trade area can be succesful. The institutional structure and treaties of SADC differ from the structures of the EU. Member states are the main actors of the integration processes. Their differences are reflected in the process and produce different kinds of integration in different parts of the world.
  • Metsola, Lalli (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    This is a study of Namibian ex-combatant and veteran policies after the country s transition to independence in 1990. Instead of assessing the successfulness of reintegration against its stated objectives or the perspective of post-conflict policy discourses, it examines the politics of reintegration as a process of multiform negotiation over recognition and entitlements for the ex-combatants, and political authority and legitimacy for party and government leaders. The study interrogates the ways in which this process reflects and contributes to postcolonial Namibian politics, state formation and citizenship. It is based on nine months of fieldwork in 2002, 2003 and 2009 and its main sources include ethnographic observation, life historical interviews with ex-combatants, thematic interviews with politicians and civil servants, grey literature as well as Namibian newspapers and internet sources. The study finds that instead of being a neutral exercise in post-conflict management and peacebuilding, Namibian reintegration has been motivated by more exclusive ideas of the nation and by the special bond between the ruling party and the former liberation movement Swapo and its formerly exiled cadres. This close tie and the characterization of Swapo combatants as heroes who hold a special place in the Namibian narrative of national liberation have repeatedly enabled Swapo ex-combatants to demand recognition, employment, monetary compensation and other benefits. Coupled with this, the relative strength of the Namibian state and economy has made it possible to plan and implement ex-combatant reintegration as a predominantly domestic process without the close involvement of international agencies. Hence, it has been possible to diverge from mainstream disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programmes and attempt to solve the ex-combatant question by broad-based public employment. After most ex-combatants were employed in the late 1990s and early 2000s, however, their demands and policy responses shifted towards monetary compensation. The domestic character of Namibian reintegration also made it possible to implement ex-combatant and veteran policies selectively so that former Swapo exiles have gradually been transformed into an officially recognized group of veterans while their former enemies, Namibian fighters of South African surrogate forces, have been sidelined. This process of domestically driven, selective reintegration has multiple broad implications. First, as Namibia has recently emerged from a long period of violent conflict, security concerns and the imperative to control organized violence are clearly visible. The targeting of Swapo ex-combatants in reintegration and their recruitment to the public service, particularly the uniformed services, have relinked their fates with that of the Swapo government, pacifying them and making them useful in consolidating the hold of the regime over the security agencies and the marginal and frontier areas and populations. Indeed, a key reason why the demand politics of the ex-combatants have been so successful is that their interests have been largely congruent with the perceived interests of the political elite. Second, the tendency of Namibian reintegration to entrench involvement in liberationist history as a criterion of full membership in the political community, creating an ever-widening circle of veterans versus others, provides and interesting comparison with struggles over recognition and citizenship elsewhere in Africa which are often framed in terms of language, religion, ethnicity, race or historical origins. The movements thus generated may adopt anti-national stances but they are as likely to seek to reformulate and colonize nationalism itself. Namibian ex-combatant reintegration, on the other hand, exemplifies a situation where nationalism as a supposedly unifying force still has salience but has been appropriated by a particular narrative of belonging. Thus, instead of representing a break from inclusive citizenship towards increasingly codified particular identities that compete within the national space, the Namibian case demonstrates the coexistence of a legal concept of universal national citizenship with a pervasive ideology of national belonging. The latter, however, inherently contradicts the supposed universalism of legal citizenship. The long-term effects of Namibian veteran politics remain to be seen. On the one hand, the aim to reconcile and build a nation, evident in some of the decisions and statements associated with reintegration as well as in Namibian political discourse more generally, is countered by the persistence of pre-independence political logics and divisions, and a concentration of power according to liberationist fault lines. It is not surprising that a militant version of nationalism seems appealing to certain political elites in their bid to justify the current regime and entrench their own positions in it. On the other hand, in the long run the politics of ex-combatants and veterans may also offer a template for more broad-based demands that question entrenched patterns of economic and political privilege, and provoke responses that may lead towards more inclusive citizenship and more broadly legitimate authority.
  • Simberg-Koulumies, Nina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    In the light of increasing socio-ecological crises, there has been a surge in the promotion of, and investments in, renewable energy in the Global South. Previous theories and research, largely framed around conservative and liberal paradigms, have hailed these developments as a breakthrough. Yet, just sustainability theorists have pointed to logically plausible problems in these alternatives, suggesting that they do not go far enough and could, indeed, worsen the present crises. From these critiques, the conservative and liberal advocacy of a shift towards a low-carbon society does not, and cannot, automatically guarantee just sustainabilities. Although controversial, neither conservative, liberal, nor just sustainability theorists have empirically ascertained these claims about the nature of sustainable development. Africa’s largest wind power plant, the Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) project in Kenya, provides a useful case study for this purpose. In addressing this lacuna, this thesis attempts to answer two fundamental questions related to the project. First, which are the dominant discourses on the LTWP project in Kenya? and second, what are the prospects of these discourses to drive just sustainability in Kenya? To address these questions, a range of rich data was collected, consisting of eight semi-structured interviews with key informants in Kenya and Finland, written documents including 12 news and feature articles, two policy documents and one company impact assessment. The data was systematised using critical discourse analysis (CDA) set within a political-economic framework of just sustainabilities in which wind power is dialectically linked to the dominant fossil fuel system built on global inequalities. Based on this methodology, this thesis argues that not only is the LTWP project not regarded as an environmental sustainability initiative, it is mostly understood as satisfying economic needs. More fundamentally, as the LTWP is realised within the dominant capitalist frame, guided by a reliance on market forces, new technologies and a search for new frontiers of capital accumulation, processes that are erected on, and typically drive, local and global inequalities, it does not address wider concerns of inclusion, raised by representatives for local communities in Northern Kenyan in the semi-structured interviews. Analytically, this evidence shows that mainstream conservative and liberal theories of development and energy are insufficient for analysing the transition from fossil to alternative fuels, let alone provide a canvass for a total liberation of the Global South. Clearly, the political economy of LTWP also calls into question the objectives of donor nations involved in the project as financiers. This evidence provides further basis to put the case for understanding alternative energy projects, particularly the LTWP under study, within a much broader framework of alternative, radical theories of just sustainabilities centred on concepts such as just land.
  • Korhonen, Kaisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    The objective of this study is to examine the social impacts of the integrated conservation and development project (ICDP) aimed at biodiversity conservation and local socio-economic development in the Ranomafana National Park (RNP), Madagascar. Furthermore, the study explores social sustainability and justice of the ICDP in Ranomafana. This ethnographically informed impact study uses of various field methods. The research material used consists of observation, interviews (key-person and focus group), school children's writings, official statistics and project documents. Fieldwork was conducted in three phases in 2001, 2002 and 2004 in twelve villages around the park, as well as in neighbouring areas of Ranomafana. However, four of those twelve villages were chosen for closer study. This study consists of five independent articles and a concluding chapter. Social impacts were studied through reproductive health indicators as well as a life security approach. Equity and distribution of benefits and drawbacks of ICDP were analysed and the actors related to the conservation in Ranomafana were identified. The children and adolescents' environmental views were also examined. The reproductive health indicators studied showed a poor state of reproductive health in the park area. Moreover, the existing social capital in the villages seemed to be fragmented due to economic difficulties that were partly caused by the conservation regulations. The ICDP in Ranomafana did not pay attention to the heterogeneity of the affected communities even though the local beneficiaries of the ICDP varied according to their ethnicity, living place, wealth, social position and gender. In addition, various conservation actors (local people in various groups, local authorities, tourist business owners, conservation NGOs and scientists) contest their interests over the forest, conservation and its related activities. This study corroborates the same type of evidence and conclusions discussed in other similar cases elsewhere: so called social conservation programmes still cannot meet the needs of the people living near the protected areas; on the contrary, they even have a reverse impact on the people's lives. A fundamental misunderstood assumption in the conservation process in Ranomafana was to consider the local people as a problem for biodiversity conservation. Major reasons for the failure of the ICDP in Ranomafana include a lack of local institutions that would have been able to communicate as equals with the conservation NGOs as well as to transfer the tradition of the authoritarian governance in conservation management together with the over-appreciation of scientific biodiversity, and lack of will to understand the local people's rights to use the forest for their livelihoods.
  • Jänis, Julia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    The tourism development nexus in southern Africa involves highly topical issues related to tourism planning, power relations, community participation, and natural resources. Namibia offers a particularly interesting context for the study of these issues due to its colonial legacy, vast tourism potential, recently adopted tourism policy and community-based approaches to tourism and natural resource management. This study is an interdisciplinary endeavour to analyse the role of tourism in Namibia s post-apartheid transformation process by focusing on Namibian tourism policy and local tourism enterprises' policy knowledge. Major attention is paid to how the tourism policy's national development objectives are understood and conceptualised by the representatives of different tourism enterprises and the ways in which they relate to the practical needs of the enterprises. Through such local policy knowledge the study explores various opportunities, challenges and constraints related to the promotion of tourism as a development strategy. The study utilises a political economy approach to tourism and development through three current and interrelated discourses which are relevant in the Namibian context. These are tourism, power and inequality, tourism and sustainable development, and tourism and poverty reduction. The qualitative research material was gathered in Namibia in 2006-2007 and 2008. This material consists of 34 semi-structured interviews in 16 tourism enterprises, including private trophy hunting farms and private lodges, small tour operators and community-based tourism enterprises. In addition, the research material consists of observations in the enterprises, and 37 informal and 23 expert interviews. The findings indicate that in the light of local tourism enterprises the tourism policy objectives appear more complex and ambiguous. Furthermore, they involve multiple meanings and interpretations which reflect the socio-economic stratification of the informants and Namibian society, together with the professional stratification of the tourism enterprises and restrictions on the capacity of tourism to address the development objectives. In the light of such findings it is obvious that aspects of power and inequality affect the tourism development nexus in Namibia. The study concludes that, as in the case of other southern African countries, in order to promote sustainable development and reduce poverty, Namibia should not only target tourism growth but pay attention to who benefits from that growth and how. From a political economy point of view, it is important that prevailing structural challenges are addressed equally in the planning of tourism, development and natural resource management. Such approach would help the Namibian majority to enjoy the benefits of increasing tourism in the country.
  • Evers, Niklas (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    The thesis examines how the national water policies of Tanzania and Kenya address informality in the urban water sector by critically analysing the representations of “problems” in policies related to increasing urban water access. While access to safely managed water has increased rapidly on a global in the last decades, in most cities in the global south 30¬–60 per cent of the urban population relies on informal practices to meet its daily water needs. Especially the urban areas of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) struggle to increase access to safe water to citizens, resulting in a high reliance on informal practices, such as getting water from unprotected wells or buying water from street vendors. While these practices are generally associated with health risks and higher water prices, they serve as the main everyday water supply for millions of people. Since the state has failed to provide access to water for everyone, both under private and public management, informally managed water systems are, despite their problems, increasingly seen as a viable alternative to the standard solution of expanding the piped network to increase access. Many of the case studies on informality in SSA cited in this thesis argue that the state should accept and support the informal water sector as a pragmatic alternative for water supply in unserved urban areas. By analysing the national water policies of Tanzania and Kenya, this thesis sets out to answer the research questions of (1) how the problem of water supply is constructed in urban water policy in Tanzania and Kenya and (2) how Tanzanian and Kenyan water policies approach the informal water sector. The analysis applies Carol Bacchi’s (2009) poststructuralist approach to analysing policy, the ‘What’s The Problem Represented To Be?’ (WPR) approach. Four general representations of problems related to urban water access and informality were identified in the data: (1) The problem of lacking infrastructure, (2) the problem of identifying appropriate technologies, (3) the problem of stakeholder involvement and (4) the problem of informality in the water sector. The results show a high reliance on investment in large-scale infrastructure projects as the main policy for increasing access to water in urban areas in both Kenya and Tanzania, even though previous studies on informality and urban water provision suggests this tactic will fail in providing safe water for all. In addressing the informal water sector in urban areas, informality was represented as a problem that eventually will fade away as soon as the piped network reaches all. However, both countries appeared to take a completely different stance towards informality in rural areas. Whereas large-scale infrastructure projects still were the go-to solution for increasing access in urban areas, for rural areas the analysed documents proposed a massive support of community-based informal practices as the cornerstones of future rural water supply, covering tens of millions of people in the coming decade. If the attempt to solve lacking access to safe water in urban areas by expanding the piped network should fail, as previous research suggests it might, the community based policies for rural water supply may be scaled out to solve the urban water problem. This thesis shows that the informal water sector is still to a large extent seen as a temporary problem. However, both Kenyan and Tanzanian water policy has opened the door to supporting informal practices as sustainable solutions as a way to achieve the ambitious goal of safe water for all.
  • Wang, Shiyong (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    Since the Chinese government began implementing economic reforms in the late 1970s, China has experienced profound economic change and growth. Like other parts of China, Tibetan areas of China have also experienced wide-ranging economic change with growth even higher than the China-wide average in certain years. Though China s strategic policy of developing the West provided many opportunities for economic and business activities, Tibetans have proven poorly equipped to respond to and take advantage of these opportunities. This study is about people, about market participation and specifically about why Tibetans do not effectively participate in the market in the context of China s economic development process. Many political, social, cultural and environmental factors explain the difficulties met by Tibetan communities. However, this study focuses on three factors: the social and culture context, government policy and education. The Buddhistic nature of Tibetan communities, particularly the political and economic system in traditional Tibetan society, explains this, especially after implementation of new national economic policies. An inclusive economic development policy that promotes local people s participation in the market demands serious consideration of local conditions. Unfortunately, such considerations often ignore local Tibetan realities. The economic development policy in Tibetan areas in China is nearly always an attempt to replicate the inland model and open up markets, even though economic and sociopolitical conditions in Tibet are markedly unlike much of China. A consequence of these policies is increasing numbers of non-Tibetan migrants flowing into Tibetan areas with the ensuing marginalization of Tibetans in the marketplace. Poor quality education is another factor contributing to Tibetan inability to effectively participate in the market. Vocational and business education targeting Tibetans is of very low quality and reflective of government failing to consider local circumstances when implementing education policy. The relatively few Tibetans who do receive education are nearly always unable to compete with non-Tibetan migrants in commercial activity. Encouraging and promoting Tibetan participation in business development and access to quality education are crucial for a sustainable and prosperous society in the long term. Particularly, a localized development policy that considers local environmental conditions and production as well as local culture is crucial. Tibet s economic development should be based on local environmental and production conditions, while utilizing Tibetan culture for the benefit of creating a sustainable economy. Such a localized approach best promotes Tibetan market participation. Keywords: Tibet cultural policy education market participation
  • Hietalahti, Johanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    This PhD thesis examines the everyday politics of microcredit by drawing on a case study from Limpopo Province, South Africa. Special attention is focused on how the distribution of rights and responsibilities, together with the multifaceted struggles over authority and power, mediate the different actors social agency and opportunities to benefit from the microcredit programmes. The study rests on thematic interviews and participant observation carried out in four villages and semi-urban settlements in May-July 2007. Drawing on the theoretical ideas of Pierre Bourdieu, and considering microcredit as an arena of struggle, the thesis undertakes a critical analysis of the interpretations of social capital and the associated solidarity and reciprocity based on the conceptualisations of Robert Putnam. In the spirit of the concept of governmentality by Michel Foucault, the thesis also illustrates processes and practices of governance, and the creation of a set of rules and procedures that can govern and discipline microcredit clients to achieve selected goals. The results of this study illustrate how social relations between the members of the microcredit groups were based on ambiguous forms of co-operation and conflict around diverse interests and multifaceted power relations. There was a tension between co-operation and competition and between solidarity and the power differences in the women s everyday businesses and microcredit groups. While social networks were crucial for the establishment and maintenance of business operations, the structural conditions of poverty and marginalisation placed the women in competition with each other over limited resources and easily saturated markets. The group loan system intensified the anxieties about solidarity lending and the tensions between group members. The study explores the everyday politics, contradictions and tensions at several levels, including the clients, organisation and the wider economy and society. High repayment rates were secured through strict rules and monitoring procedures; public reprimand in the repayment meetings; extending repayment liabilities to husbands or other relatives; and refusing to let anyone leave the repayment meetings until the money was paid. Although according to the microcredit rhetoric group members take joint liability for loan repayment, in reality the centre, community and kin operate as collateral for microloans. In this kind of system, joint security is a fact only at the institutional level. In the everyday politics of the clients, business affairs and the logic of decision-making were tightly intertwined with financial, social and cultural norms and political power relations. The most successful clients were those who were able to utilise various social networks and regular household incomes, as well as take advantage of their social status to create the market. In terms of the disadvantageous ways in which people are incorporated into economic and social life, the study highlights the contradiction between the idea of a microcredit organisation operating as a linkage between formal and informal economies and borrowers considered as agents of their own empowerment, and the structural obstacles the poor encounter under systematic political inequality. The study calls more attention to the everyday struggles of these poor women caused by the distorting microcredit rules and mechanisms, the weak pillars of the society, and the vulnerability and disadvantageous power relations within which people are caught. Key words: authority and power, co-operation and conflict, everyday politics, microcredit, rules and responsibilities, social networks, solidarity, South Africa
  • Laine, Sofia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    This study examines young people s political participation in transnational meetings. Methodologically the study aims to shed light on multi-sited global ethnography. Young people are viewed here as a social age group sensitive to critical, alternative and even radical political participation. The diversity of the young actors and their actions is captured by using several different methods. What is more, the study spurs us coming from the Global North to develop social science research towards methodological cosmopolitanism and to consider our research practices from a moral cosmopolitan perspective. The research sites are the EU Presidency Youth Event (2006 Hyvinkää, Finland), the Global Young Greens Founding Conference (2007 Nairobi, Kenya), the European Social Forum (2008 Malmö, Sweden) and three World Social Forums (2006 Bamako, Mali; 2007 Nairobi Kenya and 2009 Belém, Brazil). The data consists of participant observation, documents and media articles of the meetings, interviews, photos, video, and internet data. This multidisciplinary study combines youth research, development studies, performative social science and political sociology. In this research the diverse field of youth political participation in transnational agoras is studied by using a cross-table of cosmopolitan resources (or the lack of them) and everydaymakers expert citizen dichotomy. First, the young participants of the EU Presidency youth event are studied as an example of expert citizens with cosmopolitan resources (these resources include, for example, language skills, higher education and international social network). Second, the study analyses those everyday-makers who use performative politics to demonstrate their political missions here and now. But in order to make the social movement global they need cosmopolitan resources to be able to use the social media tools and work globally. Third, the study reflects upon the difficulties of reaching those actors who lack cosmopolitan resources, either everyday-makers or expert citizens. The go-along method and the use of the interpreters are shown as ways to reach these young people s political missions. Fourth, the research underlines the importance of contact zones (i.e. spaces or situations where the aforementioned orientations and their differences temporarily disappear or weaken) for deeper democracy and for boosted dialogue between different kinds of participants. Keywords: political participation, young people, multi-sited ethnography, youth research, political sociology, development studies, performative social science