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Title: Power and Participation in Rural Development : A case study of Mozambique
Author: Valderrama, Camilo
ISNI:       0000 0004 2683 7343
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2010
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This study on power and participation in post-conflict settings analyzes a rural development project in Mandimba District of Northern Mozambique. The purpose is to gain understanding of the dynamics and possibilities of participatory approaches for increasing the influence of previously excluded actors in decision-making processes. The methodology for this study reflects two broad yet intertwined approaches. For the first component, the Mozambique in-depth case study research, I draw on my role as a participant observer as well as other more traditional field research approaches. A variety of qualitative methods were used for the collection of the information, including review of documentary sources, participant observation, key informant and focus group interviews. The initial data collection lasted about eight months in different phases between 1998 and 1999. In Mozambique, but also in subsequent years, my approach drew upon principles of reflective practice, where I learned not only through the study of others, but through reflections on my work as a practitioner in conflict areas being studied. This latter approach was particularly important when triangulating and extending the findings from the Mozambique study to other war-torn settings in which I later worked in Kosovo, Pakistan and Chad and when reviewing documented experiences in participatory processes in Afghanistan and East Timor. A 'power over' and 'actor oriented' approach informed data collection and analysis of the information. The findings show that inclusive participatory approaches may fail if they do not address power. They may sideline power asymmetries and fail to set rules of involvement for actors within the project. In addition, structural and functional factors related to the project frame can enhance or constrain participation. The finding also shows that the inflexibility of the project frame constrains actor engagement in decision-making processes. The theoretical implication of this research calls for an approach to power rooted in the mix of conflict and consensual understanding of power. Practical implications point towards a greater emphasis on 'decision ruling', i.e. setting the 'rules of the game' for decision-making in participatory processes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available