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Title: Participation for empowerment : an analysis of agricultural innovation in two contrasting settings of Bolivia
Author: Polar Funez, Vivian del Carmen
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis is about the relation between participation and empowerment in two different contexts of the agricultural sector in Bolivia. It analyses the effects of a specific participatory method implemented along with technology innovation projects and depicts changes produced after a 2 year period among participating and non-participating farmers. The culture and history of the two contrasting sites - North Potosí and the Chaco regions - are analysed to evaluate their association with outcomes of the participatory implementation and changes in the sense of empowerment and asset-based components. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used to identify changes in the sense of empowerment experienced by farmers, as well as changes in structure and agency evaluated through a series of asset-based components and cultural practices. Results from the study show that participatory processes were not empowering for project participants. Farmers who participated in the innovation projects with the participatory component had different perceptions of empowerment, and experienced different changes in structure and agency variables, in comparison to farmers who did not participate. Perceptions of empowerment and changes in structure and agency also varied when agriculture and market issues are analysed separately. Different types of power were manifested in different ways through agency, structure, history and culture in each study site. Cultural and historic background acted as an overarching framework affecting both participating and non-participating farmers in their sense of empowerment and the changes experienced in agency and structure. The nature and dynamics of the observed changes are used to introduce a new approach that explains how participatory processes create a 'need' or a gap of dissatisfaction when economic, social and political structures restrict participation in decision making. Based on this theory, further avenues of research are explored and new research questions posed to foster deeper understanding of the dynamics of participation, empowerment and development.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available