Kim, Elena: International Development and Research in Central Asia : Exploring the Knowledge-based Social Organization of Gender. - Bonn, 2014. - Dissertation, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn.
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author = {{Elena Kim}},
title = {International Development and Research in Central Asia : Exploring the Knowledge-based Social Organization of Gender},
school = {Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn},
year = 2014,
month = may,

note = {This doctoral dissertation is a critical inquiry into the knowledge-based processes that guide multi-lateral international collaboration to foster development in post-socialist Central Asia. Adopting an innovative analytic/methodological framework called institutional ethnography (Smith, 1987), the study problematizes how women are known as potential subjects of development. The present inquiry starts from the standpoint of local women who variously participate in two specific cooperation projects operating in contemporary Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. The analysis moves from women’s accounts to the discovery of what is constituted in projects implementation practices, questioning procedures and structures of development as an institution.
Both projects are analyzed as operating in socially and discursively organized settings–one being research for development (in Uzbekistan) and the other development within a non-governmental organization that is dependent on the exigencies of international development aid (in Kyrgyzstan). In both projects I discover that women systematically and continuously fail to benefit from the project’s apparent benefits. From an institutional ethnographic position, these experiences are understood as institutionally organized. As discovered here, overlooking of women’s needs and interests occurs routinely on the basis of knowledge-based processes which operate as a particular mode of domination called ‘ruling relations’. The analysis demonstrates that when particular women in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan become involved in a development project, their experience is shaped by development policies including implementation frameworks that fundamentally do not work in their interest. The findings from the research site in Uzbekistan explicate the hidden work processes through which the project beneficiaries, specifically women-smallholders who suffer from uncertain and unreliable sources of livelihoods, disappear. Ruling ideas of agricultural marketing and impact-oriented development management incorporated into the project implementation procedures produce effects for women’s local knowledge to be unrecognized as such. The project in Kyrgyzstan shows the actual project implementation work serving the national government’s interests of fulfilling international obligations without solving, and sometimes even exacerbating, the problems of violence in the lives of women-beneficiaries. Knowledgeable and active women living in Central Asia are misconstrued. The projects’ knowledge-based practices treat the knowledge of women who are potential beneficiaries as inappropriate to the analyzed projects’ agenda despite these women’s significant contribution to the relevant topics; they objectify the women’s experiences leaving them invisible, thus, unaddressed. Such effects contradict and undermine the projects’ goals, intentions and inclusive policies. As a result inequality along “gender” lines is routinely generated. The study offers support for an argument that attending to social organization of men’s and women’s different and similar experiences is a more satisfactory way of understanding their lives than employing the abstract concept “gender”.
This study documents exactly how things work so that institutional policies and practices carrying certain expectations, often entirely underground and unintentional, produce contradictory effects upon the women whose experiences are at issue. Offered here is a detailed map of institutional relations that explicates the multiple ways in which texts, documents, and work of institutional actors are concerted together to smoothly organize such contradictory outcomes for these local women’s lives. The dissertation concludes with a discussion about how the insights generated in this study might be of use by those concerned with making positive and meaningful change in the women’s lives.},

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