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Title: Civil society knowledge networks : a geography of ideas in development
Author: Fouksman, Elizaveta
ISNI:       0000 0004 6346 577X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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Information technology, media, financial flows and consumer culture have long been acknowledged as transnational connective forces that spread ideas and values around the globe. This work proposes an alternative mechanism for such spread: development-focused civil society organizations. This thesis argues that such organizations constitute a backbone of connections that link a diversity of development actors and local communities into a network with global scope. While individual nodes in these civil society networks may not possess global reach, the network as a whole facilitates the far flung transfer of knowledge and ideas. This work focuses on the ways that knowledge is generated, transferred and renegotiated on both the global, national and local scale through such networks of development institutions. How are global discourses formed, adapted and spread via civil society into local communities? How do local communities interact with, change, implement or ignore the values, knowledge and rhetoric of global movements? How are communities shaped by these discourses and what role do they have in informing the discourses themselves? The project constructs two case studies of such 'knowledge networks' - two international foundations, their partner NGOs in the developing world (Kyrgyzstan and Kenya), and the local communities where the NGOs support ecologically-focused initiatives. The case studies demonstrate the complex and uneven ways in which knowledge and values are shared - and contested - within the networks. Ideas are transformed, adapted or ignored between different nodes, and yet the network retains enough common discourse and shared knowledge to function as a whole. Despite power imbalances, local actors remain agents, not subjects, in these networks and produce knowledge that is prized by other organizations and individuals in the networks. Civil society knowledge networks thus sculpt the content and application of knowledge across global movements, development-focused civil society organizations and local communities in the developing world.
Supervisor: Gooptu, Nandini ; Beinart, William Sponsor: Rhodes Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Civil society ; Globalization ; Knowledge economy ; Non-governmental organizations--Social aspects