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Empowering or impoverishing through credit

Small-scale producers and the Plan Chontalpa in Tabasco, Mexico

Gisela Lanzas and Matthew Whittle

This article examines the evolution of the credit market for small-scale sugarcane producers in the Plan Chontalpa development program in Tabasco, Mexico. The plan promoted neoliberal policies that transformed the existing credit market available to small-scale producers. The availability of credit was supposed to lead to increased efficiency. However, making credit available to low-income farmers can result in unintended outcomes. We found that many households had high discount rates and used the credit to supplement their household income. Thus, farmers are getting caught in a cycle of debt that often culminates in losing their land. We use a life history to consider the strategies the program has adopted to control credit as well as the counterstrategies the families have developed.

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Repaying the Debts of the Dead

Kinship, Microfinance, and Mortuary Practice on the Paraguayan Frontier

Caroline E. Schuster

Microcredit loans—most famously systems of group-based borrowing—are a key tool in global economic development frameworks. Building outward from microcredit programs in Paraguay, I explore the discontinuous materialities of both kin- and debt-based obligations, especially at their intersection. I argue that borrowers feel the life span of debts most acutely when mortuary practices anchored in kinship ties are bound up with the task of taking on the financial obligations of the dead. This analysis shows how the bonds between kinship, death, and indebtedness go beyond analogy, for collective debt is not ‘like’ a kinship relationship. Instead, microcredit social collateral provides a means for people to deal with the broader issues affecting the life span of individuals, objects, and commitments, as well as the human stakes involved with obligation.

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Educating Educators of Memory

Reflections on an InSite Teaching Program

Joanne Sayner

This article reports on a continuing professional development program run by the Imperial War Museum in London for educators involved in teaching about European memories. On the basis of two sites visited in Hungary which were elements of the educational program, the Memorial Shoes on the Danube Promenade and the Memento Statue Park, this article suggests that Alison Landsberg's concept of prosthetic memory can be applied to these sculptural monuments. It explores the political potential of empathy in transmitting diverse European pasts and of mapping individual performative responses to less familiar cultural contexts.

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In a World of Migration

Rethinking Literacy, Language, and Learning Texts

Elizabeth P. Quintero

This article has evolved from teaching future teachers about literacy and language in multilingual contexts. The examples are taken from contexts in the United States with learners from around the world. Professionals in the classrooms, in the teacher development programs, and in schools and colleges of education have been doing responsible research for many years, and have learned much regarding the learning of multilingual people who represent a multitude of histories. In this article the focus is on rethinking literacy, languages (home languages and target languages of host countries), the connections between personal and communal history and learning texts, and how all of the above relate to the curriculum in various learning arenas.

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New Immigrants and Neo-rural Values

The Small Non-Greek Farmers of Global Greek Countrysides

James P. Verinis

Though Greek agriculture is arguably the picture of rural underdevelopment in Europe, life in rural Greece is transforming within a new global migratory context. Farmers now work with myriad non-Greek minorities who, with the onset of the postsocialist period, have begun to play a diversity of socio-economic roles. These immigrants help to de fine what agricultural (dis)incentives, environmental stewardship, social fabric and territorial occupation mean in the countryside. Together with locals they now co-manage new tensions stemming from European rural development programs and global commodity markets.

Scholarship tends to reify the conclusion that immigrants are merely transient, exploited labourers. In conjunction with macroeconomic analyses of rural 'stagnation', such characterizations misrepresent current realities and undermine alternative potentialities. As some new residents join the ranks of small-scale Greek farmers, new rural values are crystallising, opening a door for new interpretations of rural development in Greece.

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Quality at some point became quantity

Flawed 'participatory' and other poverty assessments from northern Orissa

Alan Rew and Martin Rew

The 'qualitative' pole of (Q-squared) combined methods has been defined in mainly residual ways as 'non-numerical' or 'noneconomics'. There is need, instead, for a critical social theorization of qualitative methods. Evidence from a development program for chronically poor, tribal, northern Orissa is used to examine the communicative action of 'participatory assessment' (PA). PA assumes that 'group' and 'visual' synergies can challenge the power relations that restrict communication and poor people's emancipation. The authors' ethnographies show that participants sequestered information from PA village seminars. Although well trained, the PA organizers increasingly ignored cultural context and substituted universalized techniques that produced only quantities of noncontextualized attitudes. The core PA routines therefore gave misleading results; they mistakenly replaced substantive accounts of communication in relation to lifeworlds with abstract seminar techniques. To obtain more reliable results, methods of 'embedded' economic anthropology were used instead to assess poverty.

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Jean-François Loudcher

From 1945 to 1947, and then again from 1953 to 1977, Jean Minjoz served as mayor of Besançon and set up a “system” of government that allowed him to maintain power while insuring the development of the city. What was that system and how did it develop? By examining the sports politics of the city, this article reveals how the municipal sports commission and the city council worked out a subtle balance between amateur sports and the promotion of professional soccer. The political, professional, and athletic implications of this approach led representatives of the big clubs as well as the local councillors to support a basic minimum level of sports infrastructure, which in turn enabled the mayor to realize his own agenda for the city's social development program and to assure him the vote of his electorate. This politics of compromise can be categorized as republican elitist.

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Gender coherence for development

The inclusion of women in peace and development

Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

On December 9, 2015, the Consortium for Comparative Research on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion (RISC) proudly co-sponsored a Kapuscinski Development Lecture with the European Commission, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Luxembourgish Ministry of Foreign Aff airs and the University of Luxembourg, which was delivered by 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Leymah Gbowee (kapuscinskilectures.eu/lectures/from-war-to-development-women-leading-the-nation). In order to highlight this inspirational talk given by an extraordinary person, the RISC Consortium, in association with Regions & Cohesion decided to distribute a call for papers for a special issue on “Women, Peace and Development.” Like all of RISC’s activities, the call aimed to attract contributions on these themes from different world regions.