A struggle between hope and fatalism : the subject positions of Nicaraguan peasant women in the context of development projects

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/10118
Title: A struggle between hope and fatalism : the subject positions of Nicaraguan peasant women in the context of development projects
Author: Virkkunen, Matleena
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Development Studies
Date: 2008-05-12
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/10118
Thesis level: master's thesis
Abstract: This research paper examines the subject positions of the Nicaraguan peasant women who participated in development projects. The women are a part of the target group of the projects. The concept of subject position refers in this research to the women's socially constructed position in the development projects. I also analyse the discourses of development and poverty that the Nicaraguan women produce. The discourses of the women are compared to the so called hegemonic discourses of development. The hegemonic discourses and their critique are introduced during the research. The theoretical framework of the research is constructed by social constructionism and critical discourse analysis. I have approached the subject positions of the Nicaraguan women with the help of textual analysis and narratology. This research can be conceptualised as a part of the ethnographic development research. I have investigated two development projects funded by foreign donors. The research material consists of the private and group interviews of the Nicaraguan women. In the women's narratives, four different subject positions were found. One of them represents active participation in the development project. The rest of the subject positions represent passive positions. The fatalistic subject position was especially strong. The poverty discourses of the women emphasized the lack of education (or knowledge) and the condition of a house and clothes. Poverty was also seen for instance as social inequality and as happiness. The strongest development discourse the women emphasized was education, work and a good salary. On the other hand, development was seen as the social services produced by the state. Research shows that the discourses produced by the Nicaraguan women are many times in conflict with the discourses that emphasize the economical well-being in development. On the other hand, the results of this research are similar with those of so called participatory poverty research. The research also shows the conflict between the hegemonic development discourses and the positioning of the development project's target group. The main argument of the research is that the target group's passive (or even fatalistic) subject position may threat the aims of a development project. On the other hand, becoming aware of the target group's subject positions may help the project to achieve its aims.
Description: Endast sammandrag. Inbundna avhandlingar kan sökas i Helka-databasen (http://www.helsinki.fi/helka). Elektroniska kopior av avhandlingar finns antingen öppet på nätet eller endast tillgängliga i bibliotekets avhandlingsterminaler.Only abstract. Paper copies of master’s theses are listed in the Helka database (http://www.helsinki.fi/helka). Electronic copies of master’s theses are either available as open access or only on thesis terminals in the Helsinki University Library.Vain tiivistelmä. Sidottujen gradujen saatavuuden voit tarkistaa Helka-tietokannasta (http://www.helsinki.fi/helka). Digitaaliset gradut voivat olla luettavissa avoimesti verkossa tai rajoitetusti kirjaston opinnäytekioskeilla.
Subject: development co-operation
participation
women
discourse analysis
fatalism
Nicaragua
kehitysyhteistyö
projektit
naisen asema
Discipline: Development Studies
Kehitysmaatutkimus
U-landsforskning


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