What can I do?’ Living with doubt and uncertainty in the Central Region of Malawi.

Wroe, Daniel Gareth (2015) What can I do?’ Living with doubt and uncertainty in the Central Region of Malawi. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

This thesis is about the decisions a man named David Kaso made during the time
I lived with him and his family. It describes how David tried to make sense of
what he should do in different situations, and the doubts and uncertainties that
he experienced as he did so. Through looking at David’s life in detail the thesis
suggests some of the limits of ethnographic methodologies to explain people’s
actions. My interest in uncertainty developed during the course of a fifteenmonth
stay with David’s family in Chimtengo village, in the rural Central Region
of Malawi. There was an overarching imperative on people in Chimtengo to give
each other help, yet how exactly he should mediate this support was not
something that always appeared easy for David to work out. There were
structures that gave some order to his relationships and to what he did. Through
getting to know David over a long period I became aware of the significance to
him of being a ‘strong’ Christian, a good husband, and a big man. Following the
course of his life in detail though, the limits of these different ideas as heuristic
devices, or social rules of thumb, became apparent. These limits left David
doubtful of his decisions, and me to live with uncertainties about my analysis of
his actions. Focusing on David’s life suggested the heuristic nature of
ethnographic knowledge, some of the ways that it is constrained by the time and
the relationships out of which it is produced.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of International Development
Depositing User: Mia Reeves
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2016 12:13
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2016 12:13
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/59463
DOI:

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