My living-theory of International Development

Briganti, Arianna (2020) My living-theory of International Development. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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My thesis is focused on the relationally dynamic values of empathy, social and gender justice, outrage, responsibility, love for and faith in humanity and dignity. The originality lies in their use as explanatory principles in my explanation of my educational influence in my own learning, in the learning of others and in the learning of the social formations that affect my practice as a development professional. My other original contribution to knowledge is to relate the threefold nature of Living Theory methodology – a self-reflexive action-led research, a way of life, and a social movement - with my practice in International Development, which provides an example of how limitations in this sector might be overcome. My self-reflexive research conceptualizes International Development as a global responsibility. It offers instances of how to work with others at micro (community) level, meso (organizational) level and shows my developing understanding of my potential systemic influence at a political (macro) level. By drawing insights mainly from self-study and narrative enquiry methodologies, my living-theory of International Development is presented as an alternative to the neoliberal approach and rests on the idea that Development means having a chance to contribute to a good change (Chambers, 1997, p.1743). My stories derive from the experiences of my own life and that of the people I work with. I use the South African concept of Ubuntu and its transformative growth into I~we~us relationships. Whilst exploring commonalities between Living Theory and International Development, I show they can reinforce each other and combine in the practical realization of a commitment to a fairer world. A generative form of development emerges that includes a gendered epistemology. I discuss how my own pursuit of gender justice has improved the quality of my work as a female development economist and practitioner, living in a capitalistic era.

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Thesis (PhD)
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12 May 2020 12:15
Last Modified:
05 Apr 2024 00:31