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Power, dominance and the invisible practice of privilege : saving the other in the world of aid. The self-actualization of a development worker in Laos
DisciplineValtio-oppiPolitical ScienceKansainvälinen kehitystyö (maisteriohjelma)Master's Degree Programme in Development and International Cooperation
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This pro gradu ethnography seeks to explicate issues relating to the conceptual and practical implications of Western development workers and their impact on the local communities of Northern Laos. It is hoped that this will inform both a generation of research questions and the construction of theory. As much as this is an examination of social behaviours, mainly of young Westerners to their local counterparts, it is also a self-examination of value systems, which much consistently be evaluated when working in the field of development. The praxis of development is a conjuncture not just of sharing policies, implementing successful best practices of the west on to the east, but rather of examining one’s own system of practices and values and incorporating them into a positive cross-cultural lens that will work to enhance the experience of the beneficiaries, one’s counterparts and oneself. The theoretical framework consists of several theories that address different components of the practices of privilege when working in development. Alongside feminist critique, Weber’s interpretation of power highlights patterned behaviours of domination and privilege and Bourdieu’s Praxis and Masculine Domination work collaboratively to uncover dominant power behaviours guised as normative practices. Finally, Foucault’s exploration of Other Spaces is visited in light of changing behaviours of development staff when working in foreign environments. The research material is constituted through ethnographic detail which documents both the experiences I observed and participated in while living and working in Northern Laos, as well as multiple interviews of both foreign development staff and Lao nationals working in development. ...
Alternative titleSaving the other in the world of aid
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