International Studies - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Appropriating the past: A comparative study of official memory practices in Rwanda and Burundi

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2012-08-16
Abstract: 

In the aftermath of mass violence, the political and social nature of memory becomes even more apparent. The way in which past abuses are remembered and represented significantly influences the ability of individuals and communities to reconstruct social relations. The cases of post-genocide Rwanda and Burundi reveal strongly the relationship between memory, identity and power in the aftermath of mass atrocity. Although contemporary Rwanda and Burundi are often contrasted due to their diverging approaches to ethnicity, this paper argues that the memory of past conflict and ethnic tension has been appropriated by elites in both nations, resulting in the subjugation of alternate narratives of the past. It further asserts that the restriction of political space for dialogue on the past prevents a collective appreciation of the inherent complexities of genocide and mass violence in both nations. The failure of dominant groups in both cases to allow for a critical engagement of the past is concerning, as divisive identities and overt conflict risk being reproduced rather than deconstructed.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Onur Bakiner
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Microfinance for microenterprises? Investigating the usefulness of microfinance services for microenterprises in Bolivia

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2012-08-13
Abstract: 

Despite uncertainty about whether or not microenterprises (MEs) contribute to economic growth, it is believed that MEs contribute to human development. This research paper investigates how microfinance helps microenterprise owners in Bolivia achieve certain aspects of human development. Credit services are shown to be particularly helpful for microenterprise owners in this regard; however fieldwork constraints made it impossible to determine the role of savings services. This study enhances the discussion on microfinance for microenterprises because it considers MEs from a human development perspective instead of the typical income-poverty reduction view. Moreover, it highlights the voice of microfinance program staff and participants by following participatory program evaluation methods.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John Harriss
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

NGO Politics in Uganda: A Practitioner's Perspective

Date created: 
2012-12-17
Abstract: 

In the 1990s and early 2000s, the government of Uganda provided an enabling environment for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to engage in development and advocacy work. Since the introduction of multiparty elections in 2006 however, President Museveni has begun to adhere to a new set of norms that mark a relapse in his government’s commitment to human and civil rights. In response, heightened tensions have emerged between the government of Uganda and civil society and as a result legislation has been introduced to restrict NGO activity in the country. This paper argues that these tensions are a product of both Uganda’s fractionalized political system and the strategic priorities of donors and NGOs operating in the country. Therefore in order to be more effective, NGOs must engage with larger sections of the population and be cognizant of the risks associated with their advocacy work.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Morten Jerven
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

M-PESA:Why Kenya?

Date created: 
2012-12-17
Abstract: 

This research paper examines the factors that contributed to the remarkable adoption of M-PESA, a mobile payments system, in Kenya. In particular, it investigates the differences in the uptake of mobile money in Kenya and Tanzania by comparing the initial country conditions, sociocultural norms and business strategies employed in the implementation process. It finds that, despite many similarities between the two countries, Kenya has experienced a remarkably higher degree of uptake compared to Tanzania. The paper attributes the higher adoption rate in Kenya to a combination of favorable country conditions, supportive social-cultural context and effective implementation strategies employed by the service provider Safaricom. It concludes that the rapid adoption of M-PESA is an exception and not the rule for mobile money adoption models, and recommends that service providers tailor their implementation strategies to the unique conditions in each country.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Morten Jerven
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

The natural resource curse -and- Delivery of health and education services in Nigeria

Date created: 
2012-08-14
Abstract: 

Essay 1: What are natural resources? Why do some countries thrive with their available resources, while others suffer from what is referred to as the Natural Resource Curse? How did countries such as Botswana escape the resource curse, and why is Nigeria a prime example of the resource curse. This extended paper aims to address the questions mentioned, while attempting to examine the important factors responsible for the resource curse. Essay 2: Delivery of Education and Healthcare services are considered poor in Nigeria thereby making it a source of concern due to the impact on economic and social development. This extended essay aims to identify various bottlenecks hindering proper service delivery, while also providing recommendations to improve current service delivery mechanisms.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Morten Jerven
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essays) M.A.

Uneasy alliance: SAD-BJP coalition in Punjab and economic development -and- Roots of insurgency in Indian Jammu and Kashmir- a review

Date created: 
2012-08-17
Abstract: 

Essay 1: “Uneasy Alliance: SAD-BJP Coalition in Punjab and Economic Development” explores the ironic coalition of Punjab’s regional party, the Shiromani Akali Dal, a representative of the state’s Sikh population and the Bharatiya Janata Party, a right wing Hindu nationalist party. It explains the electoral compulsions and other incentives which brought the two ideologically divergent parties into a winning coalition. The essay concludes with an evaluation of the coalition’s performance with regards to economic development in the state. Essay 2: “Roots of Insurgency in Indian Jammu and Kashmir: a Review” attempts to outline the various factors that culminated in a mass movement for Azadi (freedom) in the Indian part of Jammu and Kashmir in the year 1989. In explaining the insurgency movement, the essay attributes agency to two entities- the Indian state and the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John Harriss
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essays) M.A.

Existing to resist: youth bulge theory in the occupied Palestinian territories

Date created: 
2012-08-13
Abstract: 

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is currently experiencing what some demographers have labeled a “youth bulge” – a disproportionately large population of young people. Youth bulge theory has sought to relate these bulges to instances of mass uprising and violent conflict. Of the societies within the MENA region, the youth population of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) is among the largest. This paper contains two core arguments. First, I argue that youth bulge theory is insufficient as a basis for conflict mitigation strategies. In order to do so, I show how the theory, against the backdrop of a political conflict mired in demographic concerns, has been translated into discourse and policies in the OPT. I examine the effectiveness and normative implications of these discourses and policies through interviews and focus group discussions with Palestinian youth. Youth responses demonstrate that “youth bulge policies” do not effectively curb youth rebellion, but rather, that they may help fuel cultures of youth resistance. Second, I argue that youth bulge theory is fundamentally weak in its ability to attribute causation in violent rebellion. This argument is explicated through Palestinian youth’s ranking and scoring of their participation in various forms of resistance in the OPT, showing overwhelming support for nonviolent means. Moreover, through a brief survey of empirical studies on the psychosocial and cultural influences of violence, I suggest these measures may serve as better indicators than demography in predicting the risk of violence in youth bulge contexts. My findings carry implications for a reworking of youth bulge theory. I suggest that in order to better understand the relationships between young people and violence and to mitigate violent rebellion, youth bulge theory must consider a conscious change in the framing and representation of young people in youth bulge societies, and a deepened understanding of how psychosocial and cultural influences interact with political, economic and demographic factors to influence violence in the lives of young people.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jeffrey T. Checkel
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Numbers are not enough: why gender inequality in education persists in Kenya

Date created: 
2012-08-13
Abstract: 

The achievement of gender equality in education is an important development goal, endorsed primarily by the MDGs. Mainstream development literature promotes female education for its instrumental benefits and recommend policies designed to eliminate physical, economic, and cultural barriers that restrict girls’ access to school. In contrast, feminist development literature emphasizes education’s intrinsic value and its role in expanding girls’ capabilities, and argues that girls continue to face barriers even in the classroom; feminist scholars therefore advocate for policies to improve girls’ learning experience. In Kenya, policymakers have deliberately addressed physical and economic barriers to girls’ access to education, with impressive results, but have neglected cultural barriers. Kenyan policy has also largely ignored the findings of the feminist literature, focusing exclusively on achieving parity in enrollments. This paper concludes that the goal of gender equality in education must be expanded to encompass the pursuit of qualitative equality.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Morten Jerven
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

The securitization of sex trafficking: a comparative case study of Sweden and the United States

Date created: 
2012-08-13
Abstract: 

Sex trafficking is a form of transnational organized crime, which may pose security threats to nation states. This project examines the roles that Sweden and the United States (US) played as global leaders in securitizing sex trafficking. This comparative case study identifies and analyzes both states' securitization processes according to the Copenhagen School's securitization framework. This project argues that both states securitized sex trafficking in the early 1990s through to 2009 in a two-stage process, initiated by civil society groups. Sex trafficking was then adopted by each states' government, and re-framed as a threat to state sovereignty. Sweden framed the issue with regards to the social, political, and economic costs of sex trafficking. The US used frames to connect sex trafficking with terrorism, and declared a ‘War on Trafficking’.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Nicole Jackson
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

‘Teaching them to fish’: towards a practical approach to capacity development for non-governmental organizations

Date created: 
2012-08-13
Abstract: 

This paper engages in a critical examination of capacity development by service-providing international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs), arguing that capacity development is a path to improve the sustainability of development interventions. In recent history, some INGO practices have undermined local and state capacity in developing countries; these side effects are illuminated through a case study of Haiti. This paper outlines principles for INGOs to employ when pursuing capacity development goals and highlights the challenges associated with implementing a long-term process, which are amplified in fragile states. This paper presents one model for capacity development through an analysis of Partners in Health, a health care INGO operating in Haiti. Partners in Health reinforces capacity through its community health worker program and partnerships with governments. Suggestions are made for further research into suitable monitoring and evaluation tools able to assess a long-term process, such as capacity development, rather than an end result.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Andrew Mack
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.