Empowering Women as Mothers? Stories of resistance, reaction and hope for a better life

University essay from Lunds universitet/Master of Science in Development Studies; Lunds universitet/Graduate School; Lunds universitet/Pedagogik

Abstract: This thesis deals with the vital issue of empowerment in development work and development projects, a multimillion dollar enterprise which engages donors,governmental agencies and governments. More specifically the thesis deals with a development intervention in education as social policy in Uruguay, investigated as a case study. The methodological intention is to present the voices of the subjects of development, in this case the mothers of the children who are the primary targets of the development intervention. Using Critical Pedagogy,Postructuralism, and Post-colonial studies, the results of interviews and observations are analyzed to disclose identity construction in the framework of development discourse. The results show that women's opportunities for empowerment within the framework of the intervention are limited to individual empowerment, rather than group mobilization that could affect the broader context that has positioned them, and keeps them in this subjugated position. The development discourse disclosed through the analysis, maintains a conceptualization of empowerment and participation that functions to reproduce colonial ways of categorizing and objectifying people. The possibility of counteract this with women´s development of critical consciousness, that would allow them to become aware of their embeddedness in power relations that subjugate them, is discussed. The results clearly indicate the need for dialogue and the necessity to make power relations explicit while at the same time clarifying the significance of historical and social relations in the context for development.

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