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Title: 'What can I do?' : living with doubt and uncertainty in the Central Region of Malawi
Author: Wroe, Daniel Gareth
ISNI:       0000 0004 5915 846X
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis is about the decisions a man named David Kaso made during the time I lived with him and his family. It describes how David tried to make sense of what he should do in different situations, and the doubts and uncertainties that he experienced as he did so. Through looking at David’s life in detail the thesis suggests some of the limits of ethnographic methodologies to explain people’s actions. My interest in uncertainty developed during the course of a fifteenmonth stay with David’s family in Chimtengo village, in the rural Central Region of Malawi. There was an overarching imperative on people in Chimtengo to give each other help, yet how exactly he should mediate this support was not something that always appeared easy for David to work out. There were structures that gave some order to his relationships and to what he did. Through getting to know David over a long period I became aware of the significance to him of being a ‘strong’ Christian, a good husband, and a big man. Following the course of his life in detail though, the limits of these different ideas as heuristic devices, or social rules of thumb, became apparent. These limits left David doubtful of his decisions, and me to live with uncertainties about my analysis of his actions. Focusing on David’s life suggested the heuristic nature of ethnographic knowledge, some of the ways that it is constrained by the time and the relationships out of which it is produced.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available