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Participatory Development and Therapeutic Governance: An Immanent Critique of the Anticipated Consequences of REFLECT Circle Participation on the Development Subject

Shilton, Louisa (2016) Participatory Development and Therapeutic Governance: An Immanent Critique of the Anticipated Consequences of REFLECT Circle Participation on the Development Subject. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

The thesis draws upon an interest in participation as a development concept in order to explore the extent to which a prevailing Western social-cultural interest in the emotional and psychological aspects of life has begun to manifest itself within development policy and practice. It draws on critical theory, using the philosophical-hermeneutic method of immanent critique, to scrutinise the existence of subtle ambitions to improve the poor’s psychological capital through induced participatory development practice using one specific community-based approach to participatory development known as REFLECT (Regenerated Freirian Literacy through Community Empowerment Techniques) as its illustrative case study. The thesis solely engages with REFLECT as an epistemic body of knowledge and focuses on identified tensions and contradictions within its prevailing knowledge claims to unpick and appraise what it might be trying to achieve when it talks about increasing participants’ confidence and self-esteem along with enhancing their political empowerment. More specifically, it draws upon insights from Vanessa Pupavac’s work on development’s perceived therapeutic turn, together with critical psychological and sociological literatures, to ask whether and to what extent REFLECT might represent a form of therapeutic governance when its vision of the empowered development subject is expressed in a mixture of political and psychological terms. It subsequently uses this overarching research question to make an overall statement about the creeping psychologisation of the development subject and what expectations a growing interest in the emotional and psychological aspects of life within development policy and practice might bring to bear upon that development subject.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Politics (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Louisa Shilton
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2019 13:18
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2019 13:18
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/13751

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