Power and Participatory Governance: the Struggles of Indigenous People for Self-Determination

KCollege.Access.ContactIf you are not a current Kalamazoo College student, faculty, or staff member, email dspace@kzoo.edu to request access to this thesis.
dc.contributor.advisorCunningham, Kiran, 1961-
dc.contributor.authorPettys, Alicia M.
dc.descriptionix, 120 p.en_US
dc.description.abstractRecent re-theorizations of participation in development point to the potential for participatory governance through radical citizenship {Hickey and Mohan 2004). These do not adequately account for the entrenchment of marginalization within the state, however. This paper explores the extent to which participatory processes increase the political capabilities of historically oppressed communities and enable them to claim and actualize their right to self-determination vis-a-vis the state. Over the past 75 years, the Karen in Thailand have been both forcibly assimilated into the state and marginalized through the annexation of their ancestral lands into national parks. Today the advocacy efforts of villagers empowered through participatory learning processes continue to be met by an un-responsive and resistant state. This Participatory Action Research project sought to understand the process of People Led Development {PLD), asking to what extent villagers are leading development, in what ways PLD allows these indigenous communities to assert their rights to self-determination, and benefits and barriers to participation. It was undertaken with staff of the Collaborative Management Learning Network {CMLN), which seeks to strengthen the ability of Karen villages to advocate and self-determine. It does so through rights education, supporting traditional natural resource management, and rebuilding Karen community governance structures. This involves mapping village land-use for use in negotiations with the national parks. While the project is not completely villager-led, it fulfills a necessary supporting role. Villagers were empowered to different extents and are still engaged in a long-term learning process. These differences in individual participation are analyzed through an indigenous feminist lens to show that people fulfill different roles in a strong community. Some measures, such as 'practice spaces' and increased mastery of Thai, would facilitate villagers becoming more comfortable asserting themselves. Based on communities' ongoing challenges, however, it is evident that while citizens can increase their ability to claim their rights, the state must also be responsive. National park regulations remain unchanged, while national park staff and local government officials respond with disinterest, empty gestures, or opposition to the necessities and self-determined desires of indigenous people. While discussions of participatory governance and citizenship acknowledge the role of the state, there must be greater emphasis on the fundamental, preceding need of marginalized communities to be self-sufficient, in partnership with a broader network, for their cultural survival-a strength that can then be the foundation for continued political struggle.en_US
dc.description.sponsorshipBeeler Fellowship
dc.description.sponsorshipCollins Fellowship
dc.publisherKalamazoo, Mich. : Kalamazoo College.en_US
dc.relation.ispartofKalamazoo College Anthropology and Sociology Senior Individualized Projects Collection
dc.rightsU.S. copyright laws protect this material. Commercial use or distribution of this material is not permitted without prior written permission of the copyright holder. All rights reserved.
dc.titlePower and Participatory Governance: the Struggles of Indigenous People for Self-Determinationen_US