Department of Global Development Studies Graduate Theses

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    Not ‘Just’ a Kid: Knowledge Politics and Youth Peacebuilding in the Great Lakes Region of East Africa
    Dixon, Alina; Global Development Studies; Goebel, Allison
    Despite the fact that young people are critical actors in, and significantly impacted by conflict, often times their expertise and insight is overlooked and undervalued on the basis on their age. Yet such exclusion is significant given that the decisions made in the post-conflict environment have a direct impact upon the opportunities that young people will have and the environments in which they will grow up. In this dissertation I explore the knowledge politics of peacebuilding as it pertains to young people to uncover the role that young people have to offer to the broader study and practice of peacebuilding, and thus what is lost by way of their exclusion. Emphasizing the creative, everyday nuances of young people’s lived experiences, this project adds to calls to acknowledge the ways that peace is conceptualized in the narratives of youth that they themselves create and embrace. The methodological approach of this project is grounded in the situated knowledge of youth and attempts to challenge a normative understanding of peacebuilders that undervalues the role of young people. Specifically, I look to the more organic and creative mediums of narrative literature, social media, and music as spaces where youth peacebuilding knowledge is constructed. The purpose of this research is to explore 1) the different ways that knowledge about peacebuilding and young people is created and sustained, and 2) the usefulness of the emerging debates on the concepts of the ‘everyday’, ‘agency’, and ‘hybridity’ to adequately capture the contributions and challenges of youth peacebuilding activities. Ultimately, I conclude that an acknowledgement of youth peacebuilding knowledge as legitimate knowledge calls into question the broader structures of power that have sustained a normative, liberal approach to peacebuilding. Reconciling youth peacebuilding knowledge with a normative framework necessitates adopting a more fluid and iterative notion of ‘successful’ peacebuilding. While such a goal may be incompatible with the current static modus operandi of international peacebuilding, I stipulate that it is within the process of producing youth peacebuilding knowledge that the greatest insights can be gleaned.
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    Small-scale Cocoa Farming and Mechanisms of Access to Support Services Bridging Producers With High-Value Market Participation: A Comparative Analysis Between Ecuador & Peru
    Laurenzio, Holly; Global Development Studies; Córdoba, Diana
    Worldwide over 5 million farmers cultivate cocoa beans from the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao) and rely on trade and export of cocoa for their livelihoods. This booming agricultural sector is led by small-scale farmers, 90% of whom have less than 5 hectares (ha) of land. The nexus of my research lies in examining how small-scale cocoa farmers’ access to HV markets is affected by different resources influencing their ability to participate in these exclusive, ‘specialty’ cocoa markets. I am using data from two Latin American countries, Ecuador and Peru, to compare findings and assess farmers’ needs towards stronger market integration. In this thesis, I compare how support services and sectoral intervention influence small-scale farmers’ access to high-value (HV) markets in Ecuador and Peru. This thesis addresses the following research question: How does access to different resources such as technical services and certification schemes influence small-scale farmers’ ability to participate in high-value cocoa markets differently between Ecuador and Peru? I assert that identified support services are crucial for small-scale farmers’ access to high-value (HV) market participation in both countries despite the differing power dynamics and social relationships involved in cocoa sector intervention in Ecuador and Peru. This thesis is informed by Gereffi’s (1994) Global Value Chain approach and grounded in the Theory of Access as defined by Ribot and Peluso (2003; 2020) and their conceptualization of access as it pertains to the cocoa agro-chain. This thesis research is based on the primary data from 30 interviews (13 from Ecuador and 17 from Peru), fieldwork notes, and country snapshots. The interviews were collected in 2019 for the ‘Maximizing Opportunities in Coffee and Cacao in the Americas’ (MOCCA) project, a 5-year initiative funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Findings indicate that both Ecuador and Peru benefit from significant state and external involvement and investment in the cocoa sector, but in terms of reaching small farmers with support, resources, and funding, Ecuador’s sector is more established and promotes from within, whereas Peru has become reliant on external intervention over the past few decades to catapult their cocoa into HV European markets.
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    "He Only Wanted To Give Me a Child To Take Care Of": A Qualitative Analysis of The Everyday Social Reproduction Experiences of Haitian Women Raising Peacekeeper-Fathered Children
    Kippers, Tineke; Global Development Studies; Hall, Rebecca; Dubinsky, Karen
    In this thesis, I explore the social reproductive experiences of Haitian women and girls raising UN peacekeeper-fathered children. I do so through a feminist and postcolonial epistemology which conceptualizes social reproduction as the processes of everyday life. Using Elias and Rai’s tripartite analytical framework of Space, Time, and Violence, I interpret 18 qualitative interviews conducted with women raising peace babies in various communities across Haiti. In so doing, this research reveals some of the commonplace and overlooked aspects of social reproduction and the ways in which this labour is shaped by, and re/shapes, the spatiotemporalities of violence in Haiti. I argue throughout that themes of absence, abandonment, isolation/disconnection, transformation, and resistance characterize the everyday social reproduction work of these women. By demonstrating the structural and embodied violence which operate throughout the spaces and routines of these women’s everyday social reproduction, the contemporary effects of structures like colonialism, race, and gender are revealed.
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    Building Alternatives: Community Land Trusts, Neoliberal Governance, and Transforming Housing Relations
    Mitchell, Ethan; Global Development Studies; Soederberg, Susanne
    This thesis examines the use of community land trusts as a model of affordable housing delivery, and as a potential component of transformative interventions in the capitalist housing market. Drawing on a Marxist political-economic perspective, and concretely analyzing CLT projects in Vermont and Massachusetts, I ask whether these cases show the capacity for the CLT model to facilitate a move away from housing's embeddedness within forms of neoliberal governance. Looking specifically at their institutional and monetary relationships to systems of displaced survival, marketization of governance, and the state's allocation of social surplus, I argue that although both projects have made significant gains in addressing displacement, and have had uneven but notable success in politicizing otherwise depoliticized and marketized governance, they remain ultimately embedded within the capitalist market and the state through its distribution of social surplus. Based on their histories of contesting the allocation of this surplus, however, and the terms of their relationships to state and capitalist actors, I suggest that these cases further highlight the centrality of political contestation in evaluating the potential of these projects.
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    Goulem, Brigid; Global Development Studies; Kukreja, Reena
    There are an estimated 200,000 Bangladeshi, Pakistani, and Indian migrants in Greece, most of whom are undocumented men. Undocumented migrant workers are estimated to make up 90 percent of agricultural labour in Greece. The nature of agricultural work significantly increases risk of injury and illness for workers through demanding physical labour, occupational stress, and exposure to pesticides. Under Greek law, undocumented migrants have access to free public healthcare only in emergency situations but must pay out-of-pocket otherwise. This project, driven by the political economy of migration and discourses of health, race, and citizenship looks at how health outcomes and healthcare access for undocumented migrant workers in Greece. It asks how social, political and economic structures, including citizenship status, policies of migration governance, healthcare costs, and racism, impact health outcomes and encounters with the healthcare system for migrant workers. Examining the case study of South Asian migrant men working in the fields around the two agricultural towns of Manolada and Megara, this thesis will draw on an intersectional theoretical framework that combines concepts from critical political economy, migration studies, and health anthropology, to demonstrate how migrant workers experience worse health outcomes as a result of the structural vulnerabilities engendered within racial capitalism and their “illegal” citizenship status. These structural vulnerabilities produce and organize the everyday suffering of workers on a through the enacting of labour demands, the enforcement of such demands, and financial pressure, and have been central in upholding the exploitative conditions in which migrants live and work. The disposability of migrant workers is compounded by “illegal” citizenship status, as undocumented workers are denied the rights and protections of the state and are under constant threat of deportation and detention. Both institutional and societal discourses of migrant “illegality” and anti-migrant racism work to reproduce the exploitative labour arrangement and serve to justify the state of disposability and precarity in which migrant workers live.